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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

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Texas Voter ID Law Ruled Intentionally Discriminatory

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A federal district court in Texas on Monday ruled that Texas’ strict voter ID law “was passed with a discriminatory purpose in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” It was the fifth time a federal court ruled against the law.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Judge Neil Gorsuch Confirmed to U.S. Supreme Court

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Senate on Friday confirmed (54-45) Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch, who was unable to get 60 senators to vote for cloture and end debate on his nomination, was approved after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R. Ky., changed Senate rules.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Leadership Conference Announces Vanita Gupta as New President and CEO

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights on Thursday announced that it and its sister organization, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, had selected civil rights litigator and advocate Vanita Gupta to assume the leadership of both organizations. The chairs of the two organizations’ boards made the announcement after a joint board meeting to ratify the consensus recommendation of a 16-member joint board search committee.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Civil Rights Groups Urge DeVos, Sessions to Uphold Strong Civil Rights Offices

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Leadership Conference and a number of partner organizations this week sent letters to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging them to staff their agencies’ civil rights offices with individuals who will protect civil rights.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Education

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Trump Administration Rescinds Title IX Guidance on Transgender Students

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Trump administration on Wednesday sent a letter to the nation’s schools announcing its rescission of the Obama administration’s federal guidance to protect transgender students.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Discrimination, Education, LGBTQ Rights

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Cardin Introduces Bill to End Discriminatory Profiling

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sen. Ben Cardin, D. Md., on Thursday reintroduced legislation – S. 411, the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act (ERRPA) – that would prohibit profiling by federal, state, local, and Indian tribal law enforcement authorities on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Discrimination, Racial Profiling

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Facebook Finalizes Prohibition of Ethnic Affinity Marketing

Friday, February 10, 2017

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it has finalized its prohibition of the use of ethnic affinity marketing that enables ad buyers to exclude racial minorities from ads offering housing, employment, or credit. Facebook will also require advertisers to affirm that they will not engage in discriminatory advertising on its platform.

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Categories: Discrimination, Media & Technology

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Senate Confirms DeVos, Sessions to Lead Important Civil Rights Agencies

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education and on Wednesday confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General – despite overwhelming opposition to each from the civil rights community. They will now both lead federal agencies responsible for enforcing civil rights laws.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Education

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Trump Signs Orders to Roll Back Dodd-Frank, Fiduciary Rule

Friday, February 3, 2017

President Trump on Friday signed an executive order calling for a massive rollback of consumer protection and banking regulation laws.

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Categories: Housing & Lending, Seniors/Social Security

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Senate HELP Committee Advances DeVos Nomination

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Yesterday, January 31, the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted 12-11 to advance the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be U.S. Secretary of Education to the full Senate for a vote.

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Categories: Education

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President Trump Nominates Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

President Donald Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, to serve as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Judiciary Committee Sends Sessions Nomination to Senate Floor

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved (11-9) the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R. Ala., to be U.S. Attorney General – a nomination that has been opposed by more than 430 national, state, and local civil and human rights organizations.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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President Obama Continues Clemency Push, Commutes Hundreds of Sentences

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Days before he leaves office, President Obama on Tuesday granted 209 commutations and 64 pardons, bringing his total number of clemency recipients to 1,597 – 1,385 commutations and 212 pardons. His volume of commutations is greater than the previous 12 presidents combined.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Annual FBI Report Indicates Increase in Hate Crimes

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An annual report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week reveals that reported hate crime incidents increased from 5,479 in 2014 to 5,850 in 2015 – a 7 percent increase.

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Categories: Discrimination, Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Obama Administration Takes Action on Paid Sick Leave, Fair Pay

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Obama administration this week announced two new actions to advance paid sick leave and fair pay for American workers.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Census Bureau Releases New Poverty, Income Data

Friday, September 16, 2016

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau released new poverty and income data for 2015 that show an increase in median household income, a decrease in the official poverty rate, and a decline in the number of people without health insurance. As the bureau notes, “This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession.”

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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President Obama Commutes 214 Sentences, Calls on Congress to Pass Sentencing Reform

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Exactly two months after granting clemency to 42 people in June, President Obama on Wednesday commuted the sentences of 214 people who are currently serving time in prison under outdated sentencing laws, bringing his total number of commutations to 562 – more than the last nine presidents combined. It was also the most granted in one day since at least 1900.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Fourth Circuit Strikes Down N.C. Voting Restrictions

Friday, July 29, 2016

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Friday ruled that North Carolina’s monster voter suppression law, H.B. 589, was enacted with “racially discriminatory intent” to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The law was enacted in August 2013 – just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

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Categories: Discrimination, Voting Rights

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Fifth Circuit Rules Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday ruled (9-6) that Texas’ strict voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act (VRA) because it discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters. The court also asked a lower court to find a remedy to prevent 600,000 Texans who lack a required form of ID from being disenfranchised in November.

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Categories: Discrimination, Voting Rights

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After Waiting Nearly 400 Days, Rossiter Confirmed to Federal Bench

Monday, June 27, 2016

The U.S. Senate on Monday unanimously confirmed Robert Rossiter, Jr. to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Rossiter, who will fill one of 30 current judicial emergencies nationwide, was nominated by President Obama more than a year ago.

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Categories: Judiciary

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DOJ Announces Implicit Bias Training Program

Monday, June 27, 2016

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday unveiled an initiative to ensure that all federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors will receive mandatory training in implicit bias.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Criminal Justice System, Discrimination, Racial Profiling

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Supreme Court Upholds Diversity in College Admissions

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled (4-3) in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, affirming the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and holding that the race-conscious admissions policy in use when Fisher applied to the university is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity, Promoting Diversity

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Hamstrung Supreme Court Deadlocks in Immigration Case

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday deadlocked (4-4) in United States v. Texas, a case challenging the Obama administration’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative. Both were stopped by a federal district court in Texas, and that court’s order subsequently was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

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Categories: Immigration

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Vast Racial Disparities in America’s Public Schools Persist, Data Show

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on Tuesday released results of its survey – the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) – providing a comprehensive look at how more than 95,000 public schools in the United States are educating the nation’s children.

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Categories: Education

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CFPB Releases Proposed Payday Lending Rule

Friday, June 3, 2016

At a field hearing in Kansas City on June 2, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a rule to rein in predatory payday and car title lending – an industry that targets communities of color.

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Categories: Housing & Lending, Poverty & Welfare

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Department of Labor Releases Final Overtime Rule

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Wednesday announced a final rule to update overtime protections for American families that will raise the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 per year. The rule – which goes into effect on December 1, 2016 – is the first comprehensive update to the nation’s overtime rules since the 1970s.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Workers' Rights

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HHS Announces New Non-Discrimination Rule

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new rule to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Discrimination, Health Care, LGBTQ Rights

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Administration Releases Guidance to Protect Transgender Students

Friday, May 13, 2016

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice on Friday released joint guidance to clarify schools’ Title IX obligations regarding transgender students and to provide examples of how both departments determine compliance.

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Categories: Discrimination, Education, LGBTQ Rights

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Bryan A. Stevenson

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

On May 11, the civil and human rights community will present Bryan A. Stevenson with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for his tireless efforts combatting poverty and discrimination. 

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Categories: Civil Rights History

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Monday, April 25, 2016

On May 11, the civil and human rights community will honor U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for her exemplary record of legislative achievement supporting social and economic justice for all Americans.

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Categories: Civil Rights History

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Senate Confirms First Judicial Nominee in Two Months

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Senate on Monday unanimously confirmed Waverly Crenshaw, Jr. to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, making him the first federal judge confirmed in exactly two months. Crenshaw, an African American who had the support of both his Republican home-state senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, waited more than 14 months for confirmation – even though he fills one of more than 30 judicial emergencies nationwide.

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Categories: Judiciary

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As Sentencing Reform Stalls in Congress, President Obama Commutes 61 Sentences

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

President Obama on Wednesday commuted the sentences of 61 people who are currently serving time in prison under outdated sentencing laws, bringing his total number of commutations to 248 – more than the last six presidents combined.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Supreme Court Hears Zubik v. Burwell Religious Freedom Case

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Last month, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and National Urban League in filing an amicus brief in the Zubik v. Burwell Supreme Court case.

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Categories: Religious Freedom, Women's Rights

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What Families Can Expect from the New FCC Rules

Thursday, March 17, 2016

By Peter Wagner

The Federal Communications Commission’s historic October 2015 order expanding its regulations of the prison and jail telephone industry goes into effect today. It’s a little complicated because prisons and jails have different effective dates, and part of the FCC’s order has been stayed by the federal courts. And on March 16, the FCC issued a public notice — which if the companies stay true to form, they are likely to challenge in court — reminding the companies that in-state calls are also to be capped. Barring new rulings from the court, here is what the families of incarcerated people can expect.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Media & Technology, Prison Phone Rates

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President Obama Nominates Garland to U.S. Supreme Court

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing in February. Garland has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 19 years, and has been the court’s chief judge since 2013.

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Categories: Judiciary

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DOL Announces New Rules to Implement Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors

Friday, February 26, 2016

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez this week announced new rules to implement President Obama’s Executive Order 13706 to establish paid sick leave for federal contractors – which Obama signed last year on Labor Day.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Workers' Rights

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Supreme Court Rules that Juveniles Must Have Chance to Challenge Life Sentences

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in the case of Montgomery v. Louisiana that anyone sentenced to life imprisonment for murder as a juvenile must have a chance to argue for parole.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Obama’s Immigration Actions

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would review a challenge to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration in the case of United States v. Texas.

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Categories: Immigration

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Senate Finally Confirms Restrepo, Obama Nominates Two to Seventh Circuit

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed (82-6) Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Restrepo, who was nominated to fill the vacancy by President Obama in November 2014, is the first Latino from Pennsylvania to serve on the Third Circuit Court and just the second circuit court judge confirmed during the 114th Congress.

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Categories: Judiciary

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House Judiciary Committee Advances Second Chance Reauthorization Act

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved by voice vote the bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 3406), a bill introduced by Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R. Wisc., and Danny Davis, D. Ill., to reauthorize the Second Chance Act.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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President Obama Commutes 95 Sentences, Grants Two Pardons

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

On December 18, President Obama commuted the sentences of 95 individuals and granted pardons to two, marking the highest number of commutations he has granted at one time and more than doubling his total since taking office. Obama has now granted 184 commutations, which is more than the last five presidents combined.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Justice Department Issues Guidance to Combat Gender Bias in Policing

Thursday, December 17, 2015

On December 15, the U.S. Department of Justice released new guidance for combatting gender bias in law enforcement response to sexual and domestic violence.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Criminal Justice System, LGBTQ Rights, Women's Rights

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Annual FBI Report Indicates Another Decrease in Hate Crimes

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

An annual report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday reveals that reported hate crime incidents decreased from 5,928 to 5,479 – the lowest number of reported hate crimes since the first year of reporting in 1991.

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Categories: Discrimination, Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Prison Phone Rate Reforms an Important Part of Administration’s Re-entry Efforts

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The White House on Monday unveiled new measures to ease the re-entry process for formerly incarcerated people, an announcement that marks a continuation of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce incarceration’s collateral effects. One of those efforts is the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent vote on a proposal to cap exorbitant prison calling rates and fees for in-state calls.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Media & Technology, Prison Phone Rates

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Obama Takes Important Step Toward Opening Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated People

Monday, November 2, 2015

In Newark, N.J., on Monday, President Obama announced a series of measures designed to help the re-entry process for formerly incarcerated people.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Jobs & Economy

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Sentencing Reform Package Advances out of Senate Judiciary Committee

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123) by a 15-5 vote, proving to Chairman Chuck Grassley, R. Iowa, that the Senate “can thoughtfully address the most serious and complex matters in prison sentencing.”

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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This Vermont Teacher Wants an Education Bill that Strengthens Accountability

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

By Tara Yarlagadda, Field Associate

Earlier this week, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights shared a message from Terri Vest, who teaches 11th grade English, social studies, and online psychology courses at Twinfield Union School, a pre-K-12 school in Vermont.

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Categories: Education

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Senators Introduce Bipartisan Sentencing Reform Package

Friday, October 2, 2015

A bipartisan group of senators on October 1 – including Sens. Chuck Grassley, R. Iowa; Dick Durbin, D. Ill.; Patrick Leahy, D. Vt.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D. R.I.; John Cornyn, R. Texas; Mike Lee, R. Utah; Chuck Schumer, D. N.Y.; Cory Booker, D. N.J.; Lindsay Graham, R. S.C.; and Tim Scott, R. S.C. – introduced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, a major criminal justice reform package aimed at reducing some mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and curbing recidivism.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Census Data Show Inequality, Racial Disparities Persist

Friday, September 18, 2015

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau released new poverty and income data for 2014 that show no statistically significant movement from 2013 figures. It’s the fourth year in a row that the official poverty rate, and the third year in a row that median household income, has not significantly changed.

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Categories: Census, Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Murkowski Cosponsors Bill to Restore Voting Rights Act

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R. Alaska, on Thursday announced her support for the Voting Rights Advancement Act, making her the first Republican in the Senate to cosponsor legislation to help restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Civil Rights and Public Interest Groups Express Support for FCC’s Lifeline Modernization Proposal

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) request for comments on its proposal to modernize the Lifeline program to include broadband, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights submitted comments to the FCC on August 31 strongly supporting the proposal and offering recommendations for the modernization effort.

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Categories: Media & Technology, Poverty & Welfare

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In Wake of Federal Updates, Maryland Becomes First State to Issue Profiling Guidance

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Surrounded by a national conversation about police brutality and law enforcement’s treatment of minorities, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on August 25 issued guidance designed to ban discriminatory profiling by law enforcement on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Discrimination, Racial Profiling

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U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Re-Hear Arguments in Fisher v. Univ. of Texas

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear—for a second time—arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a legal challenge to the equal opportunity admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Categories: Discrimination, Education, Equal Opportunity, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

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Supreme Court Decisions Advance Fair Housing, Affordable Health Care

Thursday, June 25, 2015

On June 25, the Supreme Court ruled on the side of civil rights and the American people in two pivotal cases: King v. Burwell and Texas v. Inclusive Communities Projects. In its decisions, the high court preserved the integrity of bedrock civil rights protections by affirming the validity of key components of the Affordable Care Act and the Fair Housing Act.

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Categories: Discrimination, Health Care, Housing & Lending

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Senate Rejects Measure to Improve Military Justice System

Monday, June 22, 2015

On June 16, the Senate rejected an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to restructure the military criminal justice system’s handling of sexual assault cases. The amendment, proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D. N.Y., incorporated provisions of the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), which the Senate also rejected as a standalone bill in March 2014.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights, Media, and Consumer Groups Release Principles for Lifeline Modernization

Thursday, June 11, 2015

On June 10, a broad coalition of more than 50 civil rights, media, public interest, and labor groups issued a public letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, urging the FCC to rapidly update the Lifeline program to support broadband access for low-income people. In its letter, the groups also detail a set of principles that they believe should guide the Commission’s work to modernize the program.

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Categories: Media & Technology

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Congress Reintroduces Bill to Protect Pregnant Workers

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

On June 4, Sen. Bob Casey, D. Pa., reintroduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, this bill would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers – provided that doing so would not be an undue hardship. It would also prevent employers from discriminating against pregnant women in the hiring process.

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Categories: Discrimination, Women's Rights, Workers' Rights

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New Reports Document Massive Resource Inequities in Public Schools

Monday, June 8, 2015

On June 8, The Leadership Conference Education Fund – along with Education Law Center (ELC) – released “Cheating our Future: How Decades of Disinvestment by States Continues to Jeopardize Equal Education Opportunity,” its new report detailing the enormous resource disparities in public schools nationwide.

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Categories: Education

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Civil Rights, Privacy, and Media Rights Organizations Weigh in on Use of Body-Worn Cameras

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

With communities across the country calling for greater accountability of local law enforcement, a coalition of 34 civil rights, privacy, and media rights organizations on May 15 released shared civil rights principles for the use of body-worn cameras.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Media & Technology

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GAO Report Bolsters Need for Lifeline Broadband Expansion

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Lifeline program allows our nation’s most vulnerable communities to maintain telephone service that would otherwise be unaffordable – service that is essential for connecting with loved ones, searching for employment, pursuing further education goals, engaging fully as citizens, and calling 911. But a recent GAO report, commissioned by Sen. John Thune, R. S.D., to evaluate the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) reforms to the Lifeline program, quickly drew fire from some Republican leaders. They allege that the FCC should not work on expanding the program to broadband until it addresses points raised in the GAO report.

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Categories: Media & Technology, Poverty & Welfare

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Who We’re Honoring at the 2015 Humphrey Award Dinner

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On May 13, the civil and human rights community will honor former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., long-time activist Laura Murphy, and former Sen. Bob Dole with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for their commitment to equal justice under the law.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Senate Passes Budget Resolution Harmful to Vulnerable Communities

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On May 6, the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 to approve a budget resolution that slashes funding for vulnerable Americans, underfunds transportation and education, and harms long-term economic growth.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Groups Call for Federal Loan Relief for Students of Corinthian Colleges

Monday, May 4, 2015

On May 1, Americans for Financial Reform and 33 other organizations, including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urging him and the Department of Education to ensure that all current and former students of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges receive federal loan discharges.

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Categories: Education

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Congress Introduces Bill to Raise the Minimum Wage

Thursday, April 30, 2015

On April 30, lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 per hour by 2020. The bill would especially help women, African Americans, Latinos, and other historically underserved populations who are disproportionately represented in minimum wage jobs.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Cardin, Conyers Reintroduce Bill to End Racial Profiling

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sen. Ben Cardin, D. Md., and Rep. John Conyers, D. Mich., on April 22 reintroduced the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA), which would prohibit profiling by federal, state, local, and Indian tribal law enforcement authorities on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Discrimination, Racial Profiling

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After Historic Delay, Senate Finally Confirms Loretta Lynch

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed (56-43) Loretta Lynch as U.S. Attorney General, making her the first African-American woman to serve in the position. Ten Republicans joined every Democrat in voting for her confirmation.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Senate Hearing Underscores Critical Need for Asset Forfeiture Reform

Friday, April 17, 2015

On April 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the need to reform civil asset forfeiture, a legal tool that has allowed law enforcement to seize $2.5 billion in cash from nearly 62,000 people without warrants or indictments since 2001.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Proposed Rule Would Help Protect Employees from Sex Discrimination

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

On April 2, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights submitted comments to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) expressing strong support for its proposal to update sex discrimination rules for federal contractors and subcontractors.

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Categories: Discrimination, Women's Rights, Workers' Rights

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Groups Call for Strong ESEA Reauthorization

Monday, April 13, 2015

On April 13, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 41 other national organizations sent a letter to Sens. Lamar Alexander, R. Tenn., and Patty Murray, D. Wash., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, outlining their thoughts and concerns about the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, which is set to be marked up tomorrow.

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Categories: Education

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Lawmakers Reintroduce Paycheck Fairness Act

Friday, March 27, 2015

On March 25, lawmakers in both houses of Congress reintroduced legislation that would help narrow the gender pay gap. The Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D. Md., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D. Conn., would help ensure that women workers are not shortchanged, and promote fair and stable family incomes.

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Categories: Discrimination, Jobs & Economy, Women's Rights

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Congress Introduces Legislation to Expand and Protect Voting Rights

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On March 19, Rep. John Lewis, D. Ga., introduced the Voter Empowerment Act (H.R. 12), legislation that would combat voter exclusion, improve the administration of elections, and expand voter participation.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Voting Rights

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Bipartisan Group Introduces IVAWA to Coincide with International Women’s Day

Friday, March 13, 2015

International Women’s Day is held on March 8 to celebrate the achievements of women through history and across the globe. In recognition of International Women’s Day this year, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate reintroduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).

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Categories: Human Rights, Women's Rights

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Groups Underscore Concerns with Administration’s Updated Profiling Guidance

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 80 other national, state, and local organizations this week sent a letter to President Obama expressing their concerns with the administration’s Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity, released in December 2014.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Racial Profiling

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Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Historic Lynch Nomination

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Thursday advanced the nomination (12-8) of Loretta Lynch to be U.S. Attorney General. If confirmed by the Senate, Lynch would be the first African-American woman to hold the position.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Bipartisan Coalition Launches to Tackle America’s Broken Criminal Justice System

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An unlikely alliance of prominent conservative and progressive organizations today launched a new coalition to reform America’s criminal justice system.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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New Report Details Critical Disparities in STEM Education

Friday, February 13, 2015

On February 12, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund released “Advancing Equity through More and Better STEM Learning,” a report that examines where and how the nation is losing so many children along the K-16 STEM pipeline and identifies ways to accelerate progress in closing both opportunity and achievement gaps that persist.

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Categories: Education, Equal Opportunity, Resources and Reports

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More Than 30 Groups Outline Broad-Based Principles for Criminal Justice Reform

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A group of 32 civil and human rights, faith, and criminal justice reform groups on February 10 sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary to outline their shared principles for broad-based criminal justice reform.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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In Interim Report, White House Emphasizes Civil Rights Implications of Big Data

Friday, February 6, 2015

As a follow-up to its 90-day review and subsequent report last year on big data policies, the White House on February 5 released an interim report to describe its progress thus far and its plans moving forward.

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Categories: Discrimination, Media & Technology

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Senate Judiciary Committee Concludes Lynch Confirmation Hearing

Thursday, January 29, 2015

On January 29, the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up its two-day confirmation hearing on U.S. Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch. If confirmed, Lynch would make history as the first African-American woman to serve in the position.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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At ESEA Hearing, a Focus on Testing and Accountability

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On January 21, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) convened its first full committee hearing on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a law passed 50 years ago to promote educational opportunity and protect the rights and interests of students disadvantaged by discrimination, poverty, and other conditions that may limit their educational attainment.

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Categories: Education

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Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Fair Housing Case

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Texas Department of Housing vs. The Inclusive Communities Project, a case that will either uphold or strike down a crucial tenet of the Fair Housing Act – at a time when the U.S. housing market remains intensely segregated.

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Categories: Discrimination, Housing & Lending

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The Leadership Conference Education Fund Releases Annual “Civil Rights Monitor”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This week, The Leadership Conference Education Fund released the “Civil Rights Monitor,” an annual publication that chronicles civil and human rights issues pending before the three branches of government, and other, emerging issues like the potential for big data to supercharge discrimination against disadvantaged communities.

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Categories: Civil Rights History

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Groups Call for Additional Reform on Prison Phone Rates

Friday, January 16, 2015

A coalition of civil rights, faith, labor, media justice, and other groups from around the country this week wrote in support of further reforms to lower predatory prison phone rates.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Media & Technology, Prison Phone Rates

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Civil Rights Groups, Education Advocates Release Shared ESEA Reauthorization Principles

Friday, January 16, 2015

On January 12, civil rights groups and education advocates released shared civil rights principles for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which stress the important role the federal government must play to ensure that all students have equal access to educational opportunities. As of January 16, 22 organizations have signed the principles.

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Categories: Education

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Administration Issues Guidance to Ensure English Learner Students Treated Equally

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice on Wednesday issued guidance to states, school districts, and schools to ensure that English Learner (EL) students “can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs and services.”

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Categories: Education

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DOJ Says Transgender Discrimination Covered Under Title VII

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday that discrimination against transgender people will be protected moving forward by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s sex discrimination prohibition.

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Categories: Discrimination, LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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FBI Report Indicates Decrease in Hate Crimes

Thursday, December 11, 2014

An annual report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on December 8 reveals that reported hate crime incidents decreased from 6,573 to 5,928, the lowest number of reported hate crimes since the first year of reporting in 1991. However, civil rights groups remain concerned about the ongoing problem of underreporting, which makes it hard to get an actual picture of the scope of the problem year to year.

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Categories: Discrimination, Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Final LGBT Workplace Protection Rule Announced

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on December 3 announced a final rule to protect LGBT federal contractors, which will implement an executive order signed by President Obama in July. The rule will go into effect 120 days from Friday, December 6, when it was published in the Federal Register.

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Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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Department of Justice Announces Updates to Profiling Guidance

Monday, December 8, 2014

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday unveiled updates to racial profiling guidance first released in June 2003 under President George W. Bush.

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Categories: Racial Profiling

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New Report Details Local Progress in Combatting Poverty

Sunday, November 23, 2014

As part of its goal to cut poverty in half in ten years, Half in Ten released its annual poverty and inequality indicators report at an event at the Center for American Progress on November 17 featuring Sister Simone Campbell of the “Nuns on the Bus” campaign.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Reaching Low Income Communities of Color on Real Finances

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Earlier this year, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, working with the Asset Building Policy Network (ABPN) and brilliant corners Research & Strategies, undertook a public opinion research project aimed at improving the way we talk with communities of color about issues of financial health. Through a series of focus groups and polling, much of the findings were sobering – and not very surprising.

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Categories: Housing & Lending, Poverty & Welfare

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New Report Evaluates Proposed Changes to 2020 Census

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A new report from The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and the NALEO Educational Fund evaluates proposed changes to the collection of race and ethnicity data in the 2020 Census that could have significant consequences for civil rights work and the implementation and enforcement of civil rights laws.

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New Sentencing Guidelines Go into Effect

Friday, October 31, 2014

New guidelines that sensibly reduce sentences for most drug trafficking offenses – approved unanimously in April by the United States Sentencing Commission – will go into effect on Saturday, November 1.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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A Win for Transgender Workers

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an agency charged with investigating and prosecuting illegal practices in the federal workplace, made an important and legally reverberating decision last week when it ruled in favor of a transgender federal employee facing workplace discrimination.

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Categories: Discrimination, LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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The Leadership Conference Urges Education Department to Maintain Accountability in State Waiver Renewals

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In a letter issued October 27, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights urged Secretary Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education to hold states to rigorous standards when renewing waivers under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

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Categories: Education

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Why We Need Stronger Voting Protections

Monday, October 20, 2014

Just two weeks from tomorrow, Americans will head to the polls to vote in the midterm elections. But this year, accessing the ballot may be easier said than done.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Students and Administration at Colgate University Come Together to Combat Discrimination

Thursday, October 16, 2014

After a five-day sit-in at Colgate University, students and administrators came together on September 29 to develop a 21-point plan on how to combat racism and increase diversity on campus.

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Categories: Education, Equal Opportunity, Promoting Diversity

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New Report Examines Intersection of Big Data, Civil Rights

Friday, October 3, 2014

Big data can be a valuable tool in fighting inequality and societal problems, but there is also a “growing need to protect and strengthen key civil rights protections in the face of technological change,” as a new report, Civil Rights, Big Data, and Our Algorithmic Future, explains.

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Categories: Media & Technology, Resources and Reports

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Report: Raising Minimum Wage a Core Civil and Human Rights Issue

Friday, October 3, 2014

An increased minimum wage was one of just 10 demands of the August 1963 civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. More than a half-century later, the national minimum wage continues to fall short of providing workers their full dignity and a “decent standard of living,” as called for at the march.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Resources and Reports

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Supreme Court Decision Restricts Voting Rights in Ohio

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On September 29, less than a day before early voting was set to begin in Ohio, a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling restricted voters’ access to the ballot by removing the first week of the state’s 35-day early voting period.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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New Education Guidance Advances Resource Equity for Minority Students

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on Wednesday released guidance to states, school districts, and schools to clarify how federal law requires the equitable distribution of resources to students under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in addition to how they will enforce the provisions.

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Categories: Education, Equal Opportunity

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FCC Proposes Further Reform on Prison Phone Rates

Friday, September 26, 2014

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn on September 27 issued a joint statement announcing that they are circulating proposals to their fellow commissioners on further prison phone rate reform.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Media & Technology, Prison Phone Rates

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Groups Urge Broadcasters to Stop Using Offensive Team Name

Thursday, September 4, 2014

To coincide with the opening of the 2014 National Football League (NFL) season, a coalition of more than 100 groups – including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights – issued a letter urging radio and television broadcasters to stop using the name of Washington, D.C.’s NFL team.

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Categories: Discrimination

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Protecting Rights of All Workers Critical to Obama’s Action on Immigration

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On June 30, President Obama announced that his administration would take executive action to reform the current, broken immigration system, charging Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder with moving resources to the border and identifying – before the end of the summer – additional actions that his administration can take.

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Categories: Immigration

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Washington Post Editorial Board Abandons Use of Slur

Monday, August 25, 2014

In an editorial on August 22, the editorial board of the Washington Post revealed it would no longer use the name of Washington’s football team in its writing – a move that does not affect the publication’s sports and news coverage of the team, but one that has already been taken by other publications in opposition to the team’s continued use of its offensive mascot.

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Categories: Discrimination

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Department of Labor Issues Guidance to Protect Trans Workers

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Following an announcement from Secretary of Labor Tom Perez in June that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would be updating its nondiscrimination guidance, DOL on August 19 issued that guidance to explicitly classify discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status as sex discrimination.

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Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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Executive Action on Immigration Must Promote Humane Treatment in Detention Policy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On June 30, President Obama charged Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder with moving resources to the border and identifying – before the end of the summer – additional actions that his administration can take to help reform the current, broken immigration system.

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Categories: Immigration

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In Executive Action on Immigration, Obama Must Reform Enforcement Policies

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On June 30, President Obama announced that his administration would take executive action to reform the current, broken immigration system, charging Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder with moving resources to the border and identifying – before the end of the summer – additional actions that his administration can take.

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Categories: Immigration

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Report: Minority Voters Vulnerable Ahead of Midterm Elections

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Forty-nine years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the National Commission on Voting Rights (NCVR) on August 6 released a report documenting persistent voting discrimination in the United States, finding that states previously subject to Section 5 preclearance under the VRA (particularly Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia) continue to be the worst offenders.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Latest Challenge to Name of Washington’s NFL Team Targets Tech Groups

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Oneida Indian Nation sent letters to Twitter, Facebook, and Google this week, asking that the Washington NFL team’s official, verified accounts be deleted from their sites, according to Slate.

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Categories: Discrimination

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Obama’s Action on Immigration Should Broaden Use of Affirmative Relief

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Saying that “America cannot wait forever for [Congress] to act,” President Obama on June 30 announced that his administration would take executive action to reform the current, broken immigration system, charging Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder with moving resources to the border and identifying – before the end of the summer – additional actions that his administration can take.

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Categories: Immigration

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Obama Signs Order Requiring Contractors to Disclose Labor Violations

Friday, August 1, 2014

President Obama on July 31 signed The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, requiring federal contractors – before they can receive new federal contracts – to disclose labor law violations that have occurred in the last three years.

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Categories: Workers' Rights

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Congress Passes Highway Funding Patch

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hours before the Highway Trust Fund was due to run out, Congress passed legislation Thursday to extend federal funding for highway and transit construction through May 2015, avoiding thousands of layoffs and a lapse in infrastructure projects nationwide.

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Categories: Transportation Equity

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Ellison, Lewis Announce Legislation to Protect Workers' Right to Organize

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reps. Keith Ellison, D. Minn., and John Lewis, D. Ga., at a July 30 press conference announced legislation to bolster protections for workers who face discrimination as a result of efforts to form or join a labor union.

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls on Obama to Reform Deportation Policy

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On July 1, President Obama announced that his administration would take executive action to reform our broken immigration system, with an eye toward reducing unnecessary deportations. The changes could have far-reaching implications for millions of immigrant families who are suffering as a result of the current system.

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Categories: Immigration

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Obama Signs Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers

Monday, July 21, 2014

President Obama today signed an executive order barring discrimination against transgender federal employees and LGBT employees of federal contractors, a move signaled by the White House more than one month ago.

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Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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The Leadership Conference Submits Shadow Report to CERD Committee

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund – with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the NAACP – this week submitted a shadow report, “Falling Further Behind: Combating Racial Discrimination in America,” to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which monitors the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, or CERD.

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Categories: Human Rights, Resources and Reports

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Sentencing Commission: Reduced Drug Sentencing Guidelines Apply Retroactively

Friday, July 18, 2014

In a decision released on Friday, the United States Sentencing Commission applied its April drug amendment – a comprehensive two-level reduction in guidelines sentencing for defendants in drug trafficking cases – retroactively without limitation, meaning that many offenders currently in prison could be eligible for reduced sentences beginning November 2015.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Fifth Circuit Upholds University of Texas Admissions Policy

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld, for a second time, the University of Texas’ consideration of race as one of many factors in admissions. In a 2-1 ruling, the federal appeals court rejected the case of Abigail Fisher, a White student not accepted to the University of Texas in 2008 who claimed she was refused entrance due to the university’s affirmative action policy.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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EEOC Issues Pregnancy Discrimination Guidance

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Monday released guidance on the subject of discrimination against pregnant workers – the first guidance of its kind in more than 30 years.

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Categories: Discrimination, Women's Rights

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White Finally Confirmed to Federal Bench in Missouri

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nearly 15 years after a thwarted nomination for a seat on the same bench, the Senate today confirmed the nomination of Ronnie White to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Henderson: Common Core an Important Part of Driving Equitable Change

Monday, July 7, 2014

During the Rethinking Accountability conference last month in Washington, D.C., Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said that by supporting the Common Core State Standards – which he calls “an important part of driving equitable change in our public school system” – we are also supporting greater investments in education to prepare effective teachers and provide the resources students need to succeed.

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Categories: Education, Equal Opportunity

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Senate Hearing Examines Need to Address Current Racial Discrimination in Voting

Thursday, June 26, 2014

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) in its Shelby County v. Holder decision, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on proposed legislation to restore critical protections. That legislation – the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (S. 1945) – was introduced in the Senate in January by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D. Vt.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Advocates to Hold Rally for Voting Rights Following VRAA Senate Hearing

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. voting rights and civil rights advocates will hold a rally on Capitol Hill urging the House of Representatives to take up a bipartisan bill to update and modernize the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. The rally will take place right after a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ongoing racial discrimination in voting and the need for the new legislation.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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DOL’s Proposed Rule to Extend FMLA Protections to Employees in Same-Sex Marriages

Friday, June 20, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today announced a proposed rule extending Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections to all employees in legal same-sex marriages regardless of whether their home state recognizes the marriage. This rule would support the implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor v. United States decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) almost one year ago.

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Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition: Julian Castro an “Outstanding Choice” for HUD Secretary

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On June 17, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights expressed vigorous support for the confirmation of San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro to be the next Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in a letter to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. President Obama nominated Castro last month.

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Categories: Housing & Lending

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Washington’s Football Team Name Loses Trademark Protection

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) today cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the name of Washington’s football team, saying in a decision that the “registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered.”

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Categories: Discrimination

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Obama To Issue Executive Order Protecting LGBT Workers

Monday, June 16, 2014

The White House on Monday announced that President Obama will sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination from federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Categories: Discrimination, LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Issues Report to the President

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In a report released on Friday, the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ task force issued dozens of recommendations to federal agencies as well as public and private entities on how to effectively address persisting opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color in the United States.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity, Promoting Diversity

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Symposium Addresses Equity Issue in STEM Education

Friday, May 30, 2014

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education can provide historically underrepresented populations with proven pathways for obtaining good jobs and a higher standard of living, but these populations are not currently reaping its benefits. The Leadership Conference Education Fund and Educational Testing Service (ETS) on Tuesday co-sponsored a symposium, titled “Advancing Equity through More and Better STEM Learning,” to examine the best ways to ensure that STEM learning is inclusive and equally accessible to everyone, including communities of color, high-poverty communities, women and girls, and people with disabilities.

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Categories: Education, Media & Technology

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Reinvesting in Children 60 Years After Brown

Thursday, May 29, 2014

This post originally appeared on TalkPoverty.org on May 22, 2014.

On May 17, we celebrated the anniversary of a turning point in American education – a commemoration of the end – or so we hoped – of “separate but equal.” But even 60 years after the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, disparities in educational opportunities throughout our country continue to result in vast economic inequalities.

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Categories: Education, Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Groups Say Common Core Needed to Fulfill Promise of Brown Decision

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Monday, The Leadership Conference joined with several other civil rights and education groups in signing onto a full-page ad placed in the New York Times to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education and to demonstrate their strong, united support for the equitable implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

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Categories: Education

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Department of Education: Charter Schools Must Comply With Civil Rights Laws

Friday, May 16, 2014

Days before the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on Wednesday released guidance to verify explicitly that federal civil rights laws that apply to public schools also apply to public charter schools.

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Categories: Education

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Administration Tells Public Schools Not to Deny Students Over Immigration Status

Friday, May 9, 2014

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice on Thursday issued updated guidance to public elementary and secondary schools to ensure that no child is denied equal access to education, no matter their immigration status.

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Categories: Education, Immigration

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Departments of Education and Justice: Race-Conscious Methods of Achieving Diversity Still Permissible

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice on Tuesday sent a letter providing guidance to confirm that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, issued last month, leaves untouched previous Court holdings on the permissibility of race-conscious methods of achieving diversity goals at elementary and secondary schools.

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Categories: Education

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Sen. Tom Harkin

Friday, May 2, 2014

On May 15, the civil and human rights community will honor Sen. Tom Harkin with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for his lifelong commitment to equality and equal opportunity.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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White House Releases Report on Big Data and Privacy

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Following a 90-day review of big data policies, the White House today released “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values” – a move that was applauded by civil rights groups for its emphasis on critical civil rights concerns.

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Categories: Discrimination, Media & Technology

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Over One Thousand Law Professors and Deans Express Concern Over Blocked Adegbile Nomination

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A letter from more than 1,000 law professors and deans this week questioned the message the Senate sent in March when it filibustered the nomination of Debo Adegbile as assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Minimum Wage Bill Blocked in Senate

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Senate today voted (54-42) to block consideration of the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S.2223), denying higher wages for millions of Americans, including a disproportionate number of African Americans, Latinos, women, and LGBT workers. The bill needed 60 votes in order to advance to a vote on the Senate floor.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Eliseo Medina

Friday, April 25, 2014

On May 15, the civil and human rights community will honor Eliseo Medina with its highest honor, the Hubert. H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award. Medina is one of the nation’s most ardent and successful labor organizers and an expert at building diverse coalitions among local community and national partners.

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Categories: Immigration, The Leadership Conference

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Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Voter Initiative Banning Race-Conscious Admissions

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In a 6-2 decision today in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (companion case Schuette v. Cantrell), the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling and upheld a Michigan voter initiative that bans the practice of race-conscious admissions to the state’s public universities.

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Categories: Education, Equal Opportunity, Promoting Diversity

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Randi Weingarten

Friday, April 18, 2014

On May 15, the civil and human rights community will honor American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for her lifelong commitment to improving America’s education system.

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Categories: Education, The Leadership Conference

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Civil and Human Rights Groups React to Reports of Updated Profiling Guidance

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

When George W. Bush said in a presidential debate in 2000 that “we ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling,” the civil and human rights community hoped that his encouraging statement would lead to federal policy. However, his administration’s profiling guidance, released in 2003 and still to date unreformed, was inadequate 11 years ago and is even less sufficient in 2014 as it continues to affect millions of Americans from a range of racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

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Categories: Human Rights, Racial Profiling

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Civil and Human Rights Community Fights for Educational Opportunity

Friday, April 11, 2014

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education this year, civil and human rights groups are fighting for educational equity on a number of fronts to make the promise of Brown a reality.

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Categories: Education

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Obama to Sign Executive Orders on Equal Pay, Senate to Vote on Paycheck Fairness Act

Monday, April 7, 2014

President Obama on Tuesday will sign two executive orders on equal pay, one that bans retaliation against employees of federal contractors for discussing their wages, and one that instructs the Department of Labor to create new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Women's Rights

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Employment Legislation Seeks to Restore Critical Workplace Protections

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D. Wis., and Tom Harkin, D. Iowa., and Reps. George Miller, D. Calif., and Rosa DeLauro, D. Conn., introduced legislation in March – the Fair Employment Protection Act (S. 2133/H.R. 4227) – in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Vance v. Ball State University,which narrowed protections for employees who face harassment in the workplace.

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Categories: Workers' Rights

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A Call to Update Critical Workforce Regulations

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced in 2009 that it would review and revise two sets of regulations and goals for women and minorities in apprenticeships and on federal construction projections.

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Categories: Workers' Rights

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New Data Finds Huge Racial Disparities in America’s Public Schools

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on Friday released data providing a comprehensive look at how all 97,000 public schools in the United States are educating the nation’s children.

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Categories: Education

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Minimum Wage Increase Will Help Working Families Succeed

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing yesterday titled “From Poverty to Opportunity: How a Fair Minimum Wage Will Help Working Families Succeed,” highlighting the impact a raise in the minimum wage would have on America’s working families.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy

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Kansas Supreme Court: Public School Funding Levels Unconstitutional

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that current public school funding levels in the state are unconstitutional, siding with four school districts and parents of more than 30 children who sued the state for not adequately funding K-12 education.

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Categories: Education

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Senate Blocks Nomination of Adegbile to Civil Rights Post

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Senate blocked the nomination (47-52) on Wednesday of Debo P. Adegbile to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, becoming the first nominee not to get cloture since the Senate changed its filibuster rules in November.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Civil and Human Rights Groups Speak Out on Privacy and Big Data Policy

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A coalition of civil, human, and media rights groups today released ‘Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data,’ calling on the U.S. government and businesses to respect and promote equal opportunity and equal justice in their development and use of new technologies.

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Categories: Media & Technology

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Report: Black Success in Higher Education Not Improving in California

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Campaign for College Opportunity released a report in December titled “The State of Blacks in Higher Education in California: The Persistent Opportunity Gap,” which highlights the enduring disparities between Black students and their White counterparts in California.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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New Prison Phone Rate Caps Take Effect

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission's​ (FCC) long-awaited cap on interstate prison phone rates took effect on February 11. 

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Convening Highlights Bipartisan Support for Significant Criminal Justice Reform

Thursday, February 13, 2014

At an event Tuesday co-sponsored by The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Vera Institute of Justice titled "A Conversation on Criminal Justice: A Call to Action for the Nation," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, bipartisan members of Congress, and a panel of experts led a discussion on current criminal justice reform opportunities in Congress and strategies for building a sustained national commitment to ending mass incarceration.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Judiciary Committee Sends Adegbile Nomination to Senate Floor

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 today to advance the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Senate Committee Advances Significant Criminal Justice Reform

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to advance the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014, legislation introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin, D. Ill., and Mike Lee, R. Utah, that would begin to stem the tide of persons incarcerated for long drug sentences and reduce the associated costs of incarceration.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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President Obama to Raise Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors, Emphasizes Shared Prosperity in SOTU

Thursday, January 30, 2014

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama announced that he would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 for some federal contract workers, an order that some groups hope will propel forward the enactment of federal minimum wage legislation.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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House Committee Hearing Signals Movement Toward New Transportation Bill

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held its first hearing of the year on January 14. The hearing, titled “Building the Foundation for Surface Transportation Reauthorization,” was an important step for the committee charged with developing a new long-term bill to fund our nation’s surface transportation programs since the last bill, MAP-21, expires at the end of September.

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Categories: Transportation Equity

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Senate Committee Discusses Access to Higher Education for Disadvantaged Students

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee met last Thursday to hear recommendations for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing, “Strengthening Federal Access Programs to Meet 21st Century Needs: A Look at TRIO and GEAR UP,” led by Chairman Tom Harkin, D. Iowa, focused on programs designed to increase access to higher education for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Categories: Education

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act Introduction

Thursday, January 16, 2014

On January 16, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, which updates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

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Categories: Every Voter Counts, Voting Rights

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Senate Confirms Wilkins to Fill Final D.C. Circuit Vacancy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Senate voted 55-43 on Monday to confirm Robert Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Wilkins is the third of President Obama’s nominees to be confirmed to the nation’s second most important court since the Senate changed its filibuster rules in November.

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Categories: Judiciary

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CFPB Introduces New Mortgage Rules

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Friday introduced mortgage rules promising new rights for borrowers and greater protection from harmful practices. The new category of mortgages – termed a “qualified mortgage” – comes free of risky features and is made based on a borrower’s ability to repay over the course of many years – not just initially when low interest rates keep payments affordable.

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Categories: Housing & Lending

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New Polling: Majority of Americans Believe Failure of Economy to Blame for Persistent Poverty

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson launched an “unconditional war on poverty” in his 1964 State of the Union address, most Americans believe that the failure of the economy to work for all keeps 46.5 million Americans in poverty and a third of Americans teetering on its brink.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Civil and Human Rights Advocates Support Debo Adegbile’s Nomination to Head Civil Rights Division

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Today is the confirmation hearing for Debo Adegbile, who has been nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Yellen Confirmed to Head Federal Reserve

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Senate voted Monday afternoon 56-26 to confirm Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve. Yellen is the first woman to fill the position and succeeds Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term ends on January 31. The Federal Reserve is the country’s central banking system created just over 100 years ago to provide the nation with a safer and more stable monetary and financial system.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy

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Senate Votes to Proceed with Unemployment Insurance Extension Bill

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Senate today passed a procedural vote (60-37) to allow consideration of a bill that would temporarily extend unemployment insurance for 1.3 million Americans struggling with long-term unemployment.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Half in Ten Campaign Releases New Report: Resetting the Poverty Debate: State of the States 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

As part of its annual reporting on data to track progress in its goal to cut poverty in half in 10 years, Half in Ten released a new report yesterday, “Resetting the Poverty Debate: State of the States 2013,” examining 14 indicators of economic security and opportunity at a state-by-state level.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Congress Passes Federal Budget Deal

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress passed the Murray-Ryan Budget Agreement, a two-year government spending plan. After the House of Representatives passed it last week (332-94) with overwhelming bipartisan support, the Senate approved it yesterday (64-36) with nine Republicans voting in favor of the plan.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy

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Department of Labor to Measure Federal Contractors’ Compliance with Veterans and People with Disabilities Employment Rules

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections recently held a hearing to examine the Department of Labor’s recent final rules from its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regarding federal contractors hiring of veterans and people with disabilities.

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Categories: Disability Rights, Discrimination

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Civil Rights Groups Urge Washington to Change Football Team Name

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

At its annual meeting last week, The Leadership Conference passed a resolution calling for the Washington Redskins to change its name, saying it “cannot in any reasonable way be viewed as honoring the culture or historical legacy of any particular Native American tribe or individual.” The resolution also urged state, local, and federal governments to break association with the franchise.

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Categories: Discrimination, Indigenous Peoples

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Pillard Approved to Fill Second of Three D.C. Circuit Vacancies

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Senate voted 51-44 early Thursday morning to confirm Cornelia “Nina” Pillard to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, becoming the second of President Obama’s three nominees to the court to be confirmed since the Senate changed its filibuster rules.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Senate Approves Millett, First Nominee Confirmed Since Senate Rules Change

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Senate voted 56-38 on Tuesday morning to confirm Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, becoming just the sixth woman to serve on the court in its 120-year history.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Senate Confirms Watt to Head FHFA

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Senate voted 57-41 on Tuesday to confirm Congressman Mel Watt as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), a position that oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration.

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Categories: Housing & Lending

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Senate to Support Equal Employment Bill

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 49 other organizations submitted a letter to the Senate this week in support of a bill – called the Equal Employment for All Act – that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D. Mass., will introduce next week.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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PISA Results Reveal 'Educational Stagnation' in United States

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released results this week for the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests 15-year-old students in more than 60 countries in mathematics, reading, and science. Since results were last released in 2009, the United States’ scores, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, represent “a picture of educational stagnation.”

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Categories: Education

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New FBI Report Indicates Slight Decrease in Hate Crimes, Though Reporting Numbers Fall

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An annual report recently released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed a 7 percent decrease compared to last year’s figures in the number of hate crimes reported by local law enforcement partners in 2012.

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Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Disability Treaty CRPD, an Opportunity for American Leadership

Friday, November 22, 2013

Human rights activists filled the room to support Senate ratification of the disability rights treaty at the second hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on November 21.

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Categories: Disability Rights, Human Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges House to Support Immigration Reform Bill

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights expressed its support last week for H.R. 15, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” which closely follows the legislative package passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this year. 

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Categories: Immigration

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Confirmation of Harper to UNHRC

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights pushed this week for the confirmation of Keith Harper as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council, a position President Obama nominated him for in June.

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Categories: Human Rights

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UT-Austin’s Admissions Policy Considered by Federal Court

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sent back to the Fifth Circuit in June by the Supreme Court, Fisher is heard again

On November 13, a three-judge panel revisited Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a challenge to race-conscious admissions policies at UT-Austin. The U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in June, stressing the need for strict scrutiny in evaluating the admission policies of institutions of higher education.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

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Despite Qualifications, Senate Blocks Third Consecutive D.C. Circuit Nominee

Monday, November 18, 2013

For the third time in less than three weeks, the Senate voted on Monday to block the nomination of a D.C. Circuit nominee. Judge Robert Wilkins, the latest victim of the GOP filibuster, follows two others who President Obama nominated to the court in June – Patricia Millett and Nina Pillard.

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Categories: Judiciary

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CFPB Now Accepting Payday Loan Complaints

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began accepting complaints from borrowers who encounter issues with payday loans.

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Categories: Housing & Lending

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Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Hurt Millions of Americans

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


By Tamera Willis

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is urging Congress to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. In its letter, The Leadership Conference notes that proposed cuts to the program would have a devastating impact on vulnerable communities such as young children, students, seniors, the jobless, the hungry, and the uninsured.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Senate GOP Blocks Another DC Circuit Nominee

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Less than two weeks after the filibusters of Patricia Millett to serve on the D.C. Circuit and Congressman Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Senate voted on Tuesday to block the nomination of Cornelia “Nina” Pillard to fill one of three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit, which is often considered the second-most important court in the United States.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Human Rights Advocates Urge Senate to Ratify Disability Treaty

Friday, November 8, 2013

Human rights and disability rights advocates packed three rooms and tuned in via social media on Tuesday to watch the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

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Categories: Human Rights

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Leadership Conference Budget Principles Call on Congress to End Sequestration

Thursday, November 7, 2013

By Hannah Cornfield

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights submitted a letter this week urging Congress to meet a set of principles as lawmakers work toward an end-of-the-year budget agreement.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy

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Senate Passes LGBT Worker Protections

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) today, voting 64-32 to prohibit employers from discriminating against LGBT employees nationwide.

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Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Files Amicus Brief in Fair Housing Case

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights filed an amicus brief last week in the Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. case regarding the use of disparate impact theory under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which the Supreme Court will hear on December 4, 2013.

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Categories: Discrimination, Housing & Lending, Judiciary

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Resetting the Poverty Debate

Thursday, October 31, 2013

By Tamera Willis, a Fall 2013 Leadership Conference Intern

Half in Ten, the campaign to cut poverty in half in 10 years, has released its annual report –Resetting the Poverty Debate: Renewing Our Commitment to Shared Prosperity – just a few months before the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of a war on poverty.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Senate GOP Blocks Nominations of Millett, Watt

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Senate voted today to filibuster the nominations of Patricia Millett to fill one of three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit and of Congressman Mel Watt to be the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Michigan’s Proposal 2

Thursday, October 17, 2013

On October 15, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (companion case Schuette v. Cantrell). This case will have national consequences on whether a majority of individuals in a state can vote to politically hold back the minority.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity, Promoting Diversity

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Civil Rights Leaders Urge Governor Corbett to Immediately Address Philadelphia’s Budget Crisis

Friday, October 11, 2013

Civil and human rights leaders sent a letter this week urging Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett to take immediate action to address the ongoing budget crisis in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP).

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Categories: Education

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House Must Act Now For American Low-Income Families

Monday, September 30, 2013

In light of the looming government shutdown, civil rights groups are urging the House of Representatives to take action today to pass H.J. Res. 59 – the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for fiscal year 2014 – passed by the Senate on Friday, and to oppose any amendments to the current language.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Census Data Highlight Devastating Impact of SNAP Cuts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

By Tatyana Walker, a Fall 2013 Intern

As Congress considers deep cuts to the safety net, data released by the Census Bureau last week show that 46.5 million people are still living in poverty and job creation has not been enough to increase average household incomes.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil Rights Groups Recognize the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by Drawing Attention to Racial Disparities in U.S. Education System

Monday, September 23, 2013

By Tamera Willis, a Fall 2013 Intern

Though the U.S. Constitution was built on the ideals of equality and equal opportunity, the reality for low-income, minority American children navigating our education system is very different.

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Categories: Education, Human Rights

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Civil Rights Groups Pushing Congress to Fill Vacant D.C. Circuit Judgeships

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

By Tamera Willis, a Leadership Conference Intern

Civil and human rights advocates have been pushing for the Senate to confirm President Obama’s three nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Federal Communications Commission Takes First Steps in Prison Phone Rate Reform

Thursday, August 22, 2013

By Taahira Thompson, a Summer 2013 Intern

After more than a decade of advocacy by civil rights organizations and affected individuals, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reform predatory prison phone rates on August 9. The rule puts a cap on how much prison phone-service providers can charge the recipients of an inmate’s call at 25 cents-per-minute. The FCC also banned the providers from charging extra fees to connect a call or use a calling card.

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Categories: Prison Phone Rates

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DOJ Announces 'Smart on Crime' Initiative to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Monday, August 12, 2013

This morning in a speech before the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the U.S. Department of Justice would avoid charging low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who are not tied directly to large-scale trafficking organizations, gangs, or cartels with crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentencing.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Time Warner, CBS Fee Dispute Harming Consumers

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Television consumers who rely on Time Warner Cable in some parts of the country cannot watch programming produced by the CBS television network due to a corporate financial dispute.

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Categories: Media & Technology

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Senate Hearing on Voting Rights Calls for Congressional Action after Supreme Court Decision

Thursday, July 25, 2013

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s recent Shelby County v. Holder decision, the Senate Judiciary Committee last week held a hearing on the need for developing a remedy to restore crucial voting rights protections that the ruling struck down.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Groups Oppose Kline ESEA Bill; Support Miller Alternative

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on the “Student Success Act,” which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Civil and human rights groups believe the bill introduced by Rep. John Kline, R. Minn., constitutes a “rollback.”

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Categories: Education

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Senate Committee Hears From Experts on the Benefits of Increasing the Minimum Wage

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and the cost of living would put money into the hands of low-wage workers, stimulate the economy, and lead to a better quality of life for all Americans, according to a panel of labor and civil rights experts who testified at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Workers' Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Supports Patricia Millet’s Nomination to the D.C. Circuit

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In a letter to the U.S. Senate today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights announced its support for the confirmation of Patricia Millett to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on her nomination tomorrow, July 10.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Supreme Court’s Decisions in Employment Cases Make it Harder to Fight Workplace Discrimination

Friday, June 28, 2013

This week, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in two cases, Vance v. Ball State University and University of Texas Southwest Medical Center v. Nassar, dealing heavy blows to federal protections from employment discrimination. 

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Categories: Workers' Rights

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Supreme Court Rules that Voting Rights Act’s Coverage Formula Is Unconstitutional

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In a 5-4 decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that determines which jurisdictions have to preclear any voting changes with the federal government before those changes can go into effect.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Supreme Court Sends Equal Opportunity Case Back to Lower Court

Monday, June 24, 2013

In a (7-1) decision authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that universities may consider racial and ethnic diversity as one factor among many in a carefully crafted admissions policy.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Supreme Court Upholds Primacy of Federal ‘Motor Voter Law’ in Arizona Voter Registration Ruling

Monday, June 17, 2013

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (7-2) in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), Inc., that the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 pre-empts an Arizona voter registration law requiring documents showing proof of citizenship.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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11 Ways the Immigration Reform Bill Can Protect the Rights of Non-citizens

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A key part of the comprehensive bill, S. 744, to fix our nation’s broken immigration system includes changes that will address the fundamental rights that non-citizens have when they come into any contact with the immigration system. Here are 11 principles that the Senate should ensure make it into the final bill:

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Categories: Immigration

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Welcomes President Obama’s Judicial Nominations to D.C. Circuit Court

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Civil and human rights advocates applauded President Obama’s announcement from the Rose Garden this morning that he has nominated Cornelia “Nina” Pillard, Patricia Millett, and Robert Wilkins to fill longstanding vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Committee Vote Sends President Obama’s Secretary of Labor Nominee Tom Perez to Full Senate

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In a 12-10 vote along party lines, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee last week voted out the nomination of Tom Perez  to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Obama.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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The Leadership Conference Education Fund Releases New Report on Education Equity

Thursday, May 16, 2013

History of Education Equity Litigation Since 1973

In April The Leadership Conference Education Fund released a new report, Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child. The Education fund hopes the report will be used as a call-to-action for our nation to heed the findings For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence, issued in February by a panel of leading education experts appointed by Secretary Arne Duncan (aka The Equity and Excellence Commission).

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Categories: Education

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Jenny Yang Sworn In as EEOC Commissioner

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

With the swearing in this week of Jenny Yang to serve as one of five commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency is now fully staffed to carry out its work ensuring that all Americans receive fair and equal treatment when seeking employment.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Yes, the Lifeline Fund is Money Well Spent

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing posing the question whether the Lifeline program is “money well spent?”  The Lifeline Fund, which provides discounts on telephone phone service to low-income households, is designed to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable communications services. In light of the increasing importance of communication services for the livelihood of all Americans, civil rights activists voiced support for the continuation of this program as well as expansion of it to include access to broadband networks for Lifeline-eligible consumers.

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Categories: Media & Technology

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Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) Reintroduced in the 113th Congress

Thursday, April 25, 2013

With no federal law currently protecting  individuals from job discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, civil rights advocates applauded today the reintroduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in Congress.

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Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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In Memoriam: Common Cause President Bob Edgar

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause, passed away suddenly this morning in his home. He was 69 years of age.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Martin Eakes

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On May 2, the civil and human rights community will honor consumer advocate Martin Eakes with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for his impassioned work as a champion of economic empowerment for women, low-income, rural and minority communities.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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At Confirmation Hearing, Labor Secretary Nominee Tom Perez Says Top Priority Will Be Jobs, Training

Thursday, April 18, 2013

During a confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee today, Tom Perez made clear that his top priority as U.S. Secretary of Labor would be working with all sides in helping American workers obtain the training and support they need to win good jobs in the U.S. economy.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Workers' Rights

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Barbara Arnwine

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On May 2, the civil and human rights community will honor Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for her lifelong dedication to the advancement of civil and human rights for all.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Immigration Reform Must Ensure Due Process

Monday, March 25, 2013

Two Systems of Justice

In testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 20, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, stressed the importance of ensuring due process for immigrants when considering reform legislation.

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Categories: Immigration

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Anti-Death Penalty Advocates Celebrate Maryland Victory, Prepare for Next States

Thursday, March 21, 2013

With the passage last week of a bill to repeal the death penalty, Maryland will become the sixth state to end capital punishment in the last six years and the first below the Mason-Dixon Line.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Sen. Leahy Introduces Bill to Uphold the Promise of Gideon v. Wainright Ruling

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark Supreme Court decision establishing that under the Constitution states are required to provide a lawyer to criminally charged defendants who cannot otherwise afford one.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Labor Board Asks Supreme Court to Review Ruling Against Obama Recess Appointments

Friday, March 15, 2013

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced this week that it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling finding that President Obama's recess appointments to the NLRB were unconstitutional.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Workers' Rights

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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Arizona’s Challenge to Federal ‘Motor Voter’ Law

Friday, March 15, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Monday, March 18, in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), Inc., a case brought by the state of Arizona challenging the primacy of the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or the “motor voter” bill) in regulating federal elections.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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A Win in Tennessee for Equal Opportunity

Monday, March 11, 2013

The fight to protect equal opportunity in higher education marked a victory in Tennessee with the recent defeat of Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8) in the state legislature.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Civil Rights Groups File Supreme Court Brief in Support of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, joined by 28 other civil rights organizations, submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, arguing for the constitutionality of maintaining a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA).

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: A Proud ‘Product of Affirmative Action’

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In her newly released memoir, "My Beloved World," Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor defends affirmative action – under which she was admitted to Princeton University and Yale Law School – as a needed tool to help disadvantaged students get to the starting line of the race to success.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Advocates Warn that FCC Changes on Media Ownership Could Undermine Diversity

Friday, February 8, 2013

Civil rights advocates are warning that racial and gender disparities in media ownership could be exacerbated by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal to relax the rule regulating conglomerate ownership of both newspaper and broadcast media outlets.

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Categories: Media & Technology

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Senate Hearing Focuses on Need to Reform How Americans Vote

Thursday, December 20, 2012

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week, civil and human rights advocates spoke to the need for reforming the antiquated and uneven process governing how Americans register and vote in elections.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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FBI 2011 Report Indicates Slight Decrease in Hate Crimes

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An annual report recently released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed a 6 percent decrease in the number of hate crimes reported by law enforcement partners in 2011 to the lowest number of reported hate crimes since 1994.

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Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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FCC Announces New Opportunity for Community Groups to Start Low Power FM Radio Stations

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took another step forward for media justice and diversity with the announcement last week of a new opportunity for community groups to apply for licenses to start local radio stations.

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Categories: Media & Technology

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Appeals Court Rules Michigan’s Ban on Equal Opportunity Unconstitutional

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today in an 8-to-7 ruling found that parts of Michigan’s law banning equal opportunity programs at public colleges and universities are unconstitutional.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Oklahoma Approves Ballot Question Banning Affirmative Action

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On Election Day, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 759, banning affirmative action measures in state government hiring, public contracting, and higher education. The measure passed by a vote of 59 to 41 percent and amends the state constitution to prohibit any consideration of race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin by the state government.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Advocates Say Election Shows that Americans Want a Federal Budget that Protects the Middle Class

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In an open letter to President Obama and Congress that ran in today's Washington Post, a broad range of civil rights, labor, and progressive leaders urged them to "focus on rebuilding the middle class and strengthening our economy by investing in jobs, not cuts."

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Seniors/Social Security

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Overcoming Obstacles and Long Lines, American Voters Exercise Their Most Fundamental Civil and Human Right

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Last night's presidential election was an important event for all Americans who believe in building a nation as good as its ideals.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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It's Time to Vote

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

As voters head to the polls today,  the civil and human rights community is working tirelessly to ensure the rights and votes of all Americans.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments in University of Texas Equal Opportunity Case

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that could determine whether universities can continue to use race as one of many factors in admissions, which could impact their ability to promote diverse learning environments for all students.

More information and resources on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin »

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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New Video: Ensuring Every Voter Counts

Monday, October 8, 2012

Politicians in dozens of states have enacted new laws and rules that threaten to limit who can vote. Students, people of color, low-income individuals, people with disabilities, and older Americans are the most likely communities to be affected by these laws.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Legislators, Civil Rights Groups Concerned about Conservative Group Challenging Voters

Friday, October 5, 2012

A month before Election Day, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, launched an investigation of conservative group True the Vote’s campaign to challenge voters’ registration status in several states across the country.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Senate Subcommittee Hearing Focuses on Hate Crimes in Wake of Sikh Temple Shooting

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In response to the recent shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, that left six members of the Sikh religious community dead, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing on the enforcement of federal anti-hate crime laws and the need to ensure that all communities are receiving adequate protection.

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Categories: Discrimination, Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Senate Judiciary Committee Examines Voting Rights Act's Importance

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

At a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights and the impact of unrestricted money in elections, civil rights advocates called for strong enforcement of the nation’s voting rights laws in response to a wave of new state laws that are threatening to undermine democracy and make it harder for millions of Americans to participate fairly in elections.

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Categories: Voting Rights

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Census Data Show Effectiveness of Low-Income Programs; But Racial Disparities, Inequality Persist

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The percentage of Americans living in poverty fell slightly from 15.1 to 15 percent from 2010 to 2011, while the percentage lacking health insurance dropped from 16.3 percent to 15.7 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest data. The report also showed incomes rising for the top 5 percent of households, but falling for those in the middle.

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Categories: Health Care, Poverty & Welfare

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Fisher Case Draws Broad Support from Business, Military, Administration

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More than 50 briefs in support of diversity and the University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) admissions policy were filed this week in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 10.

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Categories: Discrimination, Education, Equal Opportunity

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Experts Say American Community Survey Is Key to a Successful 2020 Census

Friday, August 3, 2012

Witnesses testifying at a recent hearing on planning for the 2020 census emphasized the value and importance of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). The July 18 hearing was held by the Senate subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security.

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Categories: Census

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New Report Outlines Steps to Strengthening the Economy through Shared Prosperity

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Policies that promote job growth, economic security, and democracy are the foundation for an economy that will benefit all, according to a new independent report by Professor Jacob Hacker and Nathaniel Loewentheil of Yale University. The report was released Tuesday at an event hosted by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

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Categories: Education, Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Supreme Court Says Mandatory Life Sentences without Parole for Juvenile Offenders Are Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On June 25th, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for offenders who were younger than 18 when their crimes were committed violate the Constitution’s 8th Amendment provision prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil and Human Rights Groups Welcome Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona’s SB1070, Vow to Fight Standing Racial Profiling Provision

Monday, June 25, 2012

Civil and human rights groups welcomed the Supreme Court ruling today that struck down most of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 anti-immigration law but cautioned that the court’s deferral on the issue of allowing officers to request proof of lawful presence in the U.S. could lead to racial profiling and harassment of citizens.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Hearing Witnesses Reinforce the Necessity of American Community Survey for Future Economic Success

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cutting funding and making participation the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) voluntary would significantly impede the government’s ability to gather vital information, thereby weakening the economy, according to experts testifying at a June 20 Congressional Joint Economic Committee hearing.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Advocates Emphasize the Need for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans occurs throughout the United States, according to testimony given at a recent Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on  “Equality at Work: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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Advocates Urge Senate to Prevent Student Loan Interest Rate Increase

Friday, June 1, 2012

A collection of civil rights groups is urging members of the U.S. Senate to support the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act (S. 2343) before the current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans doubles on July 1.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Civil Rights Groups and Conservative Leaders Urge FCC to End Practice of Predatory Prison Phone Rates

Monday, May 21, 2012

With a joint letter and a press call, civil rights groups and conservative leaders have united to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reform prison phone rates.

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Categories: Criminal Justice System, Media & Technology, Prison Phone Rates

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Is Arizona’s Ban on Equal Opportunity Having an Effect?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Following Arizona voters’ approval in 2010 of Proposition 107 -- which placed a ban on equal opportunity programs in public higher education, employment, and contracting -- state university officials are saying it is still too early to determine the law’s impact, according to reporting by Cronkite News.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Lawsuit Challenges Constitutionality of Senate Filibuster Rule

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Common Cause, a government watchdog group, filed a lawsuit yesterday with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., challenging the use of the filibuster in the Senate as unconstitutional.

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Categories: Judiciary

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Time to Succeed Coalition Launches

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More than 100 national leaders have launched the Time to Succeed Coalition (TSC), a diverse coalition of Americans working to ensure that all children in the nation’s high-poverty communities have the time they need to succeed in school and beyond.

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Categories: Education

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Spotlight on 2012 Humphrey Honoree: Janet Murguía

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On May 16, the civil and human rights community will honor Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), with its highest honor: the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award. NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Monitor Weekly: The Latest in Civil and Human Rights

Saturday, May 5, 2012

  • Concerns about Higher GED Costs. As Education Week reported on Thursday, The Leadership Conference will be meeting with a senior executive of the GED Testing Service to allay concerns that plans to redesign the exam will make it cost prohibitive for lower-income people.

  • New App to Fight Racial Profiling at Airports. At a press event held this week at The Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., the Sikh Coalition launched a new iPhone and Android application called FlyRights that makes it easier for travelers to submit complaints about airport security directly to the Transportation Security Administration.

  • Women, African Americans Hit Hardest by Public-Sector Layoffs. A new briefing paper by the Economic Policy Institute finds that Women and African Americans comprised about 70 percent and 20 percent respectively of the 765,000 jobs lost in state and local government between 2007 and 2011.

Categories: Education, Jobs & Economy, Racial Profiling

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Spotlight on 2012 Humphrey Honoree: Rep. Barney Frank

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On May 16, the civil and human rights community will honor Rep. Barney Frank, D. Mass., with its highest honor: the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Monitor Weekly - The Latest in Civil and Human Rights

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Categories: Criminal Justice System, Education, Racial Profiling, Women's Rights

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Members of Congress, Law Enforcement Officials, and Advocates Call for an End to Racial Profiling

Friday, April 20, 2012

The negative effects of racial profiling and the need to pass the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) of 2011 were the focus of a Senate subcommittee hearing held on April 17 as part of the National End Racial Profiling Advocacy Week.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Racial Profiling

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Full Appeals Court Hears Arguments Challenging Michigan’s Ban on Equal Opportunity

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Cincinnati, attorneys representing a wide range of groups including students, faculty and prospective applicants asked a 15-judge federal appeals court panel to uphold an earlier ruling that struck down Michigan’s ban on equal opportunity programs in public higher education, employment, and contracting.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Senate Advances Surface Transportation Bill with Bipartisan Support

Thursday, March 15, 2012

With strong bi-partisan support, the U.S. Senate yesterday voted 74-22 to pass Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), a federal surface transportation authorization bill that provides $109 billion over two years for investments in highways, transit, safety, and other programs.

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Categories: Transportation Equity

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Highlights Risks Posed by Census Data Collection Bill

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Leadership Conference says proposed legislative changes to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) would severely undermine the collection of data vitally important to civil rights and human advocates, schools, businesses, lawmakers, and others who rely on the detailed information to help make critical decisions affecting millions of U.S. residents.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Disability Rights Advocates Call for Transportation Equity

Thursday, March 1, 2012

At a recent briefing on Capitol Hill, civil rights, human rights, and disability rights advocates discussed how federal transportation policies can be improved to meet the needs of one of the nation’s most transit-dependent communities: people with disabilities.

Read more >>

Categories: Disability Rights, Transportation Equity

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Supreme Court to Hear Arizona SB 1070 Case in April

Friday, February 10, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court has set April 25 as the date it will hear oral arguments in a case involving Arizona’s state anti-immigration law, Senate Bill 1070.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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House Committee Votes to Cut Dedicated Funding for Federal Transit Programs

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Over the opposition of state transportation departments, the National Urban League, Transportation for America, the American Public Transportation Association, and a diverse coalition of other organizations, the House Ways and Means Committee today passed a bill that would strip dedicated funding for public transportation. The move cast aside a 30-year history of providing dedicated funding for federal transit programs.

Read more >>

Categories: Transportation Equity

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Senate Field Hearing Examines Barriers to Voting in Florida

Friday, January 27, 2012

Recent changes and legislation affecting elections in Florida will have a negative effect on voter participation, civil and human rights advocates told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights during a field hearing held today in Tampa, Florida.

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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President Obama Asks Senate for ‘Up or Down Vote’ on Judges and Other Nominees

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama called on the Senate to end the partisan gridlock that is blocking or delaying the confirmation of qualified judges and other executive branch appointments.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Anti-Equal Opportunity Activist Ward Connerly Facing Accusations of Financial Misconduct

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The New York Times has reported that longtime equal opportunity opponent Ward Connerly is being accused of financial misdeeds by a former colleague.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Civil Rights Coalition: Appointment of Cordray Is the ‘Right Choice’ for Financial Consumers

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Faced with ongoing obstruction by Senate Republicans against the confirmation of qualified nominees, President Obama today made a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to lead the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Congress Lets Mass Transit Tax Benefit Expire

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Due to inaction by Congress before leaving for the holidays, the amount of tax-exempt money that mass transit commuters can apply toward transportation costs will be cut in half to approximately $125 per month. As a result, the tax-exemption for parking costs, at $240, will now be nearly double the mass transit commuter benefit.

Read more >>

Categories: Transportation Equity

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Obama Administration Seeks to Advance Women’s Role in Securing Global Peace

Thursday, December 22, 2011

President Obama this week released a groundbreaking new plan and issued an executive order to increase U.S. support for strengthening the participation of women around the world in ending conflict and securing peace.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Women's Rights

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Attorney General Holder Vows to Protect the Voting Rights of All Americans

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In a speech last week in Austin, Texas, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed his commitment to protecting the right to vote and indicated that the Department of Justice will be thoroughly reviewing new state voting laws to determine whether they are discriminatory.

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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Senators Introduce Clean Ports Act of 2011 to Improve Labor, Environmental Conditions at the Nation’s Ports

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights welcomed the Senate introduction last week of the Clean Ports Act to address growing labor and environmental concerns at many of the nation’s ports and nearby communities.

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Categories: Workers' Rights

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FCC Considering Reforms to Lifeline Phone Service Program

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently considering changes and reforms to the federal Lifeline program which helps millions of Americans receive affordable telephone service.

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Categories: Media & Technology

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls for a 'Clean Extension' of Unemployment Benefits, Payroll Tax Cut

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

With the financial security of millions of unemployed Americans on the line, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is calling on Congress to renew a payroll tax cut and extend emergency unemployment benefits for 12 months without adding unnecessary and harmful provisions.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy

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Senate Obstructionists Block Obama Nominees for Financial Protection Agency, DC Circuit Court

Friday, December 9, 2011

The U.S. Senate this week failed to move forward on votes to confirm two high-profile Obama administration appointees. The nominations of both Caitlin Halligan to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Richard Cordray to be the first director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) failed to get the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican-led filibusters and allow for up-or-down confirmation votes.

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Categories: Judiciary, Housing & Lending

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NAEP’s 2011 National Report Card Shows Overall Lack of Progress in Closing Achievement Gaps

Monday, December 5, 2011

Despite some signs of progress nationally on improving student reading and math skills, racial, ethnic and income-based achievement gaps persist, according to analysis of the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’s Report Card.”

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Categories: Education

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Millions Counting on Congress to Extend Unemployment Benefits

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More than six million Americans are facing the potential loss of a financial lifeline if Congress fails to pass an extension of emergency unemployment benefits which expires on December 31.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Opposes Balanced Budget Amendments in U.S. Senate

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is opposing efforts in the U.S. Senate to pass a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the Constitution.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Seniors/Social Security

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Congressional Forum Examines the Potential Impact of State Voter Registration Laws

Friday, November 18, 2011

At a Congressional forum this week, civil and human rights advocates warned about the potential for widespread voter suppression under recently adopted state voter registration laws.

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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House Votes Down Balanced Budget Amendment

Friday, November 18, 2011

Civil and human rights advocates today applauded members of Congress for rejecting a misguided effort to amend the U.S. Constitution with a balanced budget amendment.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Seniors/Social Security

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Civil Rights Coalition Opposes Balanced Budget Amendment

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is again opposing efforts in Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the Constitution.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Seniors/Social Security

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FBI 2010 Report Indicates Slight Increase in Hate Crimes

Monday, November 14, 2011

An annual report released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed a slight rise in the number of hate crimes reported by law enforcement partners in 2010.

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Advocates Urge Congress to Address Racial Profiling

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Racial profiling is an unjust, ineffective practice that threatens civil liberties and harms targeted communities and society as a whole, criminal justice advocates recently told members of Congress at a hearing focused on the need to pass legislation aimed at eliminating its use by law enforcement agencies.

Read more >>

Categories: Racial Profiling

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At Senate Hearing, Diverse Coalition Voices Concerns Over Lack of Accountability Standards in Federal Education Reform Bill

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Joining a coalition of 29 civil rights, education and business organizations, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, told Senators yesterday at a hearing on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that the groups cannot support a bill that lacks strong accountability measures.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Bill to Cut Poverty in Half Over Next Ten Years Introduced in Congress

Friday, November 4, 2011

Anti-poverty advocates welcomed the arrival this week of a bill in Congress to begin laying the foundations of economic security and opportunity for the more than 45 million Americans living in poverty.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Senate to Support 'Rebuild America Jobs Act'

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Addressing the ongoing jobs crisis affecting millions of Americans, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is supporting passage of the 'Rebuild American Jobs Act' currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Transportation Equity

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Senate Hearing on Women and the Arab Spring Movement Highlights Need for U.S. to Ratify Women’s Rights Treaty

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing this week on the role of women in the Arab Spring movement drew attention to the need for the United States to join with 187 other countries that have committed to advance and protect the rights of women by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Women's Rights

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FCC Overlooks Needs of Low-Income Americans

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

With key decisions regarding reform of the Universal Service Fund (USF) now behind it, the Federal Communications Commission is facing pressure from civil rights advocates to quickly turn its attention to the needs of low-income consumers. 

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Department of Justice Files Lawsuit against South Carolina’s Anti-Immigrant Law

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against South Carolina’s new immigration law on Monday, arguing that “the law’s operation will cause irreparable harm.”

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Senate to Take Up Infrastructure Funding Bill to Create Jobs and Boost Economy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This week, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the Rebuild America Jobs Act, legislation that would create hundreds of thousands of jobs by investing in the nation’s crumbling roads, highways, and schools.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Transportation Equity

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Campaign Outlines Strategies to Cut Poverty in Half Over Next Decade

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Starting the clock on the work of cutting poverty in the United States by half over the next ten years, the Half in Ten campaign today released a new report outlining measurements and strategies to help achieve that goal.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil Rights, Business, and Education Groups 'Cannot Support' Senate Education Reform Bill

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Voicing concerns about the absence of accountability standards, a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, business groups, and education officials and advocates is withholding support for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2011 that is being considered by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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House Committee Votes to Limit U.S. Leadership Role on Human Rights at U.N.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In a straight party-line vote of 23-15, Republican members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs this week passed H.R. 2829, the U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011. Among other things, the legislation seeks to withhold funding for several important U.N. programs and activities and restrict U.S. participation in the Human Rights Council.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights

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ACLU and Civil Rights Coalition File Lawsuit against South Carolina’s Anti-Immigrant Law

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A recently enacted anti-immigration law in South Carolina is unconstitutional, illegal, and opens the door to racial profiling, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a coalition of civil rights groups.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Remembering the Legacy of LGBT Leader Frank Kameny

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Franklin E. Kameny, one of the nation’s most prominent gay rights leaders, died in his sleep yesterday, on National Coming Out Day. He was 86.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Civil Rights History

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Says Senators Should Be 'Ashamed' for Blocking Jobs Bill

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Senate Republicans, joined by two Democrats, last night blocked President Obama's proposed American Jobs Act from advancing to a full vote.

“The senators who voted to keep the Senate from debating the American Jobs Act should be ashamed of themselves," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights, following the filibuster of the jobs bill.  "No issue is more pressing than the jobs crisis. Yet instead of the bold action that Americans are demanding, the Senate today delivered only more procedural gamesmanship."

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Workers' Rights

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Senate Introduces Legislation to Ban Racial Profiling

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yesterday, the Senate introduced a bill that would ban the use of racial profiling by law enforcement.

Read more >>

Categories: Racial Profiling

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Children Suffer in Alabama Immigration Fight

Friday, October 7, 2011

Civil rights leaders in Alabama and across the nation are expressing concern that the severe lack of stability created in Latino families by the state’s new anti-immigrant law, H.B. 56, has led to a humanitarian crisis in Alabama.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Richard Cordray’s Nomination to Head CFPB Advances

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 today to send Richard Cordray's nomination to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the full Senate for consideration.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Remembering the Legacy of Civil Rights Icon Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, one of our nation's most revered civil rights heroes, died this week at 89 in Birmingham, Ala. Shuttlesworth was a leading activist in the fight against segregation and racism in the South during the Jim Crow era. Together with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Shuttlesworth also helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Study: Restrictive Voting Laws Could Affect Five Million Americans

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A new study from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law finds that as many as five million voters will be adversely affected in the 2012 election by new restrictive state voting laws.

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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Federal Court Upholds Most of Alabama’s Draconian Anti-Immigrant Law

Thursday, September 29, 2011

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn ruled yesterday that the state of Alabama can implement most of its anti-immigrant H.B. 56 law, which is considered by many civil and human rights and immigration advocates to be the most draconian law of its kind in the nation.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Website Maps 2010 Poverty Rates by Congressional District

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Halfin Ten campaign has released its latest interactive poverty map to help advocates, elected officials, and policymakers get a clearer picture of how increasing poverty rates are affecting constituents.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Oversight Hearing Assesses Progress of the Civil Rights Division

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary held an oversight hearing last week to review the progress of the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division since the confirmation of Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez to lead the division almost two years ago.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Federal Court Upholds Constitutionality of Key Provision of the Voting Rights Act

Friday, September 23, 2011

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge John Bates upheld the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in a case brought by Shelby County, Alabama.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary, Voting Rights

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Federal Student Loan Defaults Up, Especially at For-Profit Schools

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New data from the Department of Education shows that the rate of federal student loan defaults has increased more sharply at for-profit institutions – which have come under fire in recent years for this very issue – than at other institutions of higher learning.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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New State Voting Laws Roll Back Civil Rights Clock

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

At a Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights hearing last week, senators and civil and human rights organizations expressed concern over what one witness called an assault on voting rights comparable to the Jim Crow era.

The hearing focused on the recent wave of state legislation that will restrict voters’ access to the polls, disenfranchising millions of voters.

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Says Obama Deficit Plan Is the 'Right Approach'

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights welcomed President's Obama deficit reduction proposal as a "balanced plan" that protects lower- and middle-income Americans and puts the focus on job creation.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Officially Ends Today

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today, the repeal of "don't ask don't tell" takes effect and gay and lesbian Americans can now serve openly in the United States military.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Legislators and Civil Rights Groups Call on Congress to End Racial Profiling

Friday, September 16, 2011

At a press conference this week designed to push Congress and the Obama administration to pass the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 (ERPA), the Rights Working Group released a new report advocating not only for the prohibition of racial profiling but for greater oversight of law enforcement with regard to civil rights protections.

Read more >>

Categories: Racial Profiling, Discrimination, Criminal Justice System

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House Passes Transportation Extension Unanimously, Moves to Senate

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an extension to continue programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for four months and to continue federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs for six months. The current bill funding the FAA expires Friday, while the current version of the surface transportation reauthorization is scheduled to run through September 30.  

Read more >>

Categories: Transportation Equity

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Civil Rights Coalition Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Act, Help Homeowners

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is calling on Congress to pass "strong, bipartisan proposals" contained in the American Jobs Act, provide help to struggling homeowners, and preserve recently-enacted consumer financial protections.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Housing & Lending

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Census Poverty Data Reveal Disparity and Urgent Need for Congressional Action

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Census Bureau data released yesterday reveal significant increases in poverty and a weakened middle class in the United States, underscoring the urgent need for Congress to enact policies that create jobs and to protect programs that benefit low-income Americans.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Census

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On the Tenth Anniversary of September 11

Friday, September 9, 2011

The tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is a moment to honor and remember the nearly 3,000 victims who were killed on that day and to reaffirm a commitment to basic civil and human rights that stands against hatred and intolerance. In this spirit, The Leadership Conference Education Fund has partnered with USA Network in a public service campaign around the premiere of The Space Between, airing on Sunday, September 11 at 9 p.m Eastern/8 p.m. Central.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights

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Justice Department Announces Resolution of Racially Motivated Crimes

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two brothers who admitted they had hung a dead raccoon from a noose from a flagpole located in front of a Louisiana junior high school pled guilty to intimidating students based on race, the Justice Department announced on September 2.

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA, Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Cordray Shows Commitment to Protecting Consumers During Nomination Hearing

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Richard Cordray, President Obama's nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, reiterated his commitment to "evenhanded, fair, and reasonable" enforcement of the nation's consumer protection laws at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Anti-Poverty Groups Seek Urgent and Bold Response to U.S. Jobs Crisis

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

With August 2011 unemployment data showing zero job growth and stagnant unemployment, anti-poverty advocates are pressuring the Obama administration to propose job-creation policies that address the full scope of the jobs crisis.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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New Report: Transportation Investments Can Expand Low-Income and Minority Access to Job Opportunities

Friday, September 2, 2011

Following President Obama’s call for a “clean extension” of the surface transportation bill and a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), The Leadership Conference Education Fund released a new report, “Getting to Work: Transportation Policy and Access to Job Opportunities,” which highlights how inequities in transportation funding undermine civil rights guarantees of equal employment opportunities.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Transportation Equity

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More Than 70 Organizations Sign Shared Statement of Principles on Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, representatives from more than 70 national civil rights, human rights, civil liberties, Muslim, Jewish, and South Asian groups have signed a shared statement of principles that they say must guide responses to such horrendous and terrifying acts.

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Categories: Human Rights, Discrimination, Religious Freedom

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Today’s Civil and Human Rights Leaders Reflect on the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In honor of the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial this week on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., AARP, as part of its “My Generation” series, has produced a short video about the life and legacy of Dr. King’s work and his message of hope and peace for all humanity.

The video features  interviews with former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin L. Powell (Ret), acclaimed journalist Colman McCarthy, Freedom Rider Reverend Perry A. Smith, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Karen Narasaki of the Asian American Justice Center, Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers and Zainab Al-Suwaij of the American Islamic Congress.

[CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER: Join us on Sat. Aug. 27 to Rally and March for Jobs, Justice, and the American Dream in Washington, D.C. ]

[CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER: The official dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial will take place this Sunday, August 28.]

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Civil Rights Case Challenging Colorado’s Ability to Fund All of Its Schools Adequately and Equitably Begins

Monday, August 15, 2011

A state District Court in Denver, Colorado is currently hearing arguments in an educational equity case, Lobato v. State of Colorado.

The case, which originated in 2005, is the latest to challenge a state to fund all of its schools adequately and equitably so that every single child is getting the highest quality education.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Thousands of Citizens Draft a New ‘Contract for the American Dream’

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Amid an economy failing to produce full employment, extended wars, and a disproportionate focus on shredding the nation’s social safety net to protect the fortunes of the few, thousands of citizens have come together online to draft a new “Contract for the American Dream.”

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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Illinois Governor Signs DREAM Act into Law

Friday, August 5, 2011

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed S.B. 2185, the state’s version of the DREAM Act, into law this week, providing college scholarships to students whose parents are either documented or undocumented immigrants.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Department of Justice Files Lawsuit against Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it has filed a lawsuit in district court challenging the constitutionality of Alabama's new anti-immigrant law, H.B. 56, considered by many civil and human rights and immigration advocates to be the most draconian law of its kind in the nation.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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With Deficit Reduction Deal Secure, Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls for Job Creation

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights responded to news of Sunday's deficit reduction deal by urging lawmakers to take seriously the need to create jobs for struggling and unemployed Americans.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Says Balanced Budget Amendment Would Be 'Disastrous'

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights today urged lawmakers to oppose a proposed balanced budget amendment being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare

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NAACP Issues Call to End the Drug War

Friday, July 29, 2011

Earlier this week at its 102nd Annual Convention in Los Angeles, the NAACP issued a resolution entitled, “A Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrow.” While the text of the resolution will not be available until its national board approves it in October, a press statement following the vote criticized the drug war as discriminatory, costly, and counterproductive.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Opposes Boehner 'Budget Control Act of 2011'

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The "Budget Control Act of 2011" under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives would have a "devastating effect" on people of color, young children, students, older Americans, women, the jobless, and the uninsured, warned The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Welcomes Reid Deficit Reduction Package

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In contrast to proposals that would weaken Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D. NV, has proposed a deficit reduction package that would preserve these vital programs.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Proposed NLRB Rules Promote Transparency and Democracy

Monday, July 25, 2011

The ability for workers to have a free and fair election process is essential to democracy, civil rights and labor advocates stressed as they testified in favor of the National Labor Relations Board’s recently proposed union election rules at a hearing last week.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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The Leadership Conference Testifies in Support of Fair and Swift Union Elections

Friday, July 22, 2011

This week, Lexer Quamie, policy counsel at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, gave testimony in support of proposed changes that would streamline union representation elections governed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Attorney General Holder Pursues Fairness in Crack Cocaine Cases

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Federal prosecutors will no longer charge crack cocaine defendants under a previous and more punitive law simply because their conduct predated the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), Attorney General Eric Holder announced in a memorandum last week

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights Coalition Applauds Nomination of Richard Cordray to Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today, President Obama nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to be the first director of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a move that was lauded by the civil and human rights community.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Closing the Courtroom Doors to Ordinary Americans

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions reveal a growing trend toward limiting Americans’ access to the courts, according to witnesses testifying at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Proposed FCC Rule Seeks to Boost Community Radio Serving Urban Areas

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday proposed a new rule that will expand opportunities for local community radio stations to broadcast on FM airwaves in urban areas.

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Federal Court Strikes Down Michigan’s Ban on Equal Opportunity

Friday, July 8, 2011

Update 4/4/2012: The Sixth Circuit is currently rehearing en banc the constitutionality of Michigan's Proposal 2, which prohibits Michigan's public colleges and universities from granting "preferential treatment to ...  any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”"

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down (2-1)  Michigan's ban on equal opportunity programs in public higher education, employment, and contracting.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Civil and Human Rights Groups File Lawsuit to Block Alabama Anti-Immigration Law

Friday, July 8, 2011

A recently enacted anti-immigration law in Alabama is unconstitutional and opens the door to racial profiling, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a coalition of civil and human rights groups.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Immigration

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National Labor Relations Board Proposes New Rule to Streamline Union-Forming Process

Friday, July 1, 2011

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has proposed a new rule that is designed to simplify its secret ballot election process by which employees form a union. The NLRB is a federal agency that is responsible for holding elections so workers can vote on whether or not they want to join a particular union. 

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Witnesses Testify in Support of the DREAM Act at Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Activists for immigration reform showed their persistence and strength in numbers, as hundreds of supporters flooded the first-ever Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act held this week by Sen. Dick Durbin, D. Ill.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil Rights Groups Challenge Copycat Anti-Immigration Law in South Carolina

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed controversial anti-immigration bill, S.B. 20, into law yesterday. S.B. 20 states that if a law enforcement officer stops, detains, arrests, or investigates someone for a criminal offense and develops a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is not in the United States legally, the officer must ask for proof of citizenship in the form of identification or documentation.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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National Advocacy Groups: Deficit Reduction Cannot Increase Poverty

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leaders from 25 prominent national religious, civil rights, charitable, economic research, and low-income advocacy organizations are urging the White House and leaders of both parties in the House and Senate to ensure that any deficit reduction plan does not cut programs for low-income families and does not increase poverty.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Supreme Court’s Decision in Wal-Mart Case Severely Limits the Ability to Challenge Systemic Discrimination

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes et al. will limit the use of “class action” lawsuits and make it harder to bring large-scale discrimination cases, according to many civil and human rights groups.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights, Women's Rights, Judiciary

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Lawsuit against Netflix Demands Equal Access for the Deaf

Friday, June 17, 2011

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed a federal lawsuit against Netflix yesterday alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide closed captioning for most of its instant and streamed content.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Disability Rights

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Special Screening Announced of 'The Barber of Birmingham'

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Leadership Conference Education Fund is co-hosting a special screening for the civil and human rights community of the award-winning documentary, “The Barber of Birmingham,” at 9 a.m. Friday, June 24, in the Mary Pickford Theater at The Library of Congress. The one-hour program is being hosted by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Civil Rights Groups Deplore Signing of Alabama Anti-Immigrant Bill

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law last week an anti-immigrant bill that goes even further than Arizona’s S.B. 1070, which encouraged racial profiling by requiring law enforcement officers to stop, question, detain, and arrest anyone that they have a "reasonable suspicion" to believe is undocumented.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil Rights Coalition Calls for Nomination of Elizabeth Warren to Head New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights today urged President Barack Obama to nominate Professor Elizabeth Warren to serve as the first director of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Advocates Say Proposed Medicaid Changes Would Disproportionately Hurt Vulnerable Communities

Friday, June 10, 2011

Plans circulating in Congress to modify the Medicaid health care program threaten to put millions of America’s most vulnerable citizens – minorities, seniors, children, and people with disabilities – at risk, warn civil and human rights advocates.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Health Care

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Civil Rights Groups Applaud Connecticut on Paid Sick Days Mandate

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In a victory for workers and labor advocates, the Connecticut legislature recently became the first in the nation to pass a statewide mandate for paid sick days.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Justice Department: New Sentencing Law Should Apply to Some Imprisoned Crack Offenders

Monday, June 6, 2011

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has endorsed a limited form of retroactive application of sentencing guidelines designed to take into account the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the discriminatory sentencing disparity between powder cocaine and crack cocaine offenses.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Advocates Call for Transportation Equity at Ohio Meeting

Friday, June 3, 2011

Civil rights, labor, disability, low-income, and other advocates held a public meeting at the Statehouse Atrium in Columbus, Ohio, on June 1 to draw attention to the transportation needs of millions of Americans as Congress begins negotiations on a major transportation bill.

Read more >>

Categories: Transportation Equity

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Report: Students Attending For-Profit Institutions Struggle to Repay Federal Loans

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

For-profit colleges charge students more and have a higher percentage of students who receive federal loans than do public or private not-for-profit ones, while significantly under-investing in the instruction of their students, according to a new report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Justice Department Wins First Conviction Under Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A federal jury recently convicted an Arkansas man of committing hate crimes against five Hispanic men. The trial conviction of Frankie Maybee is the first under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Civil Rights Groups Call for Retroactive Application of Guidelines for Cocaine Sentencing

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A group of seven prominent national civil rights organizations that includes The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to support the retroactive application of a new set of sentencing guidelines that accompany the implementation of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the discriminatory sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Advocacy Groups Outline Principles for a Fair 2012 Budget

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A coalition of more than 110 civil rights, labor, economic, and other advocacy groups says current negotiations over the FY2012 budget in Washington are going in the wrong direction and pose a threat to the economy and millions of Americans.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Supreme Court Orders California to Reduce Its Prison Population, Address Civil Rights Violations

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that overcrowding in California prisons, which has led to grossly unsanitary conditions and inadequate access to medical and mental health care, violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care, Judiciary, Criminal Justice System

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Filibuster Blocks Confirmation Vote on Goodwin Liu

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Senate today was blocked from holding a confirmation vote on the nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit when it failed to garner enough votes to overcome a procedural hurdle.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Civil Rights Coalition Urges Confirmation of Goodwin Liu for 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In a letter to U.S. Senators, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights today called for the confirmation of Professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

"Professor Liu’s stellar background, his intellectual honesty and independence, and his utmost respect for the Constitution and its values all make him an outstanding candidate," wrote Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, and Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference.

They urged senators to vote "yes" on both cloture and final confirmation of Liu. A large number of civil and human rights organizations are also supporting Liu’s confirmation.

Liu's nomination has languished for more than a year as some senators employed an unprecedented level of obstructionist tactics to slow down many of President Obama’s nominees.

Read the full letter.

Categories: Judiciary

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Civil Rights Groups Applaud Reintroduction of DREAM Act to Senate

Friday, May 13, 2011

Civil rights and immigration advocates applaud the reintroduction of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in the Senate. The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States when they were young.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Repeal of Citizenship Clause Would Carry Heavy Consequences

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Instead of helping to fix the U.S.’s broken immigration system, repealing or limiting the scope of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment would actually make things worse by increasing the number of undocumented immigrants and creating significant bureaucratic and financial burdens for all Americans, according to a panel of immigration and civil rights experts.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Americans for Constitutional Citizenship

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House Armed Services Committee Seeks to Block Progress in Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The recent repeal of ”don’t ask don’t tell” (DADT) encountered a potentially significant setback last night when  the House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Bill of Fiscal Year 2012 that would slow down the process of repeal.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Senate Confirms Edward Chen After Nearly Two-Year Delay

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Senate voted today to confirm the nomination of Edward Milton Chen to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He will become the first Asian Pacific American federal judge to sit in San Francisco and the first Chinese American judge in the Northern District.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Government Steps Up Scrutiny of For-Profit College Abuses

Monday, May 9, 2011

Prosecutors in 10 states, including Kentucky, Florida, and Illinois, have launched a multi-state investigation into allegations that for-profit colleges are using fraudulent methods to recruit students to attend their schools.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Joe Solmonese

Friday, May 6, 2011

On May 12, the civil and human rights community will honor Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for his work fighting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, The Leadership Conference

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How Fair Housing Groups Are Addressing Discrimination, One Neighborhood at a Time

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Eighty-five private non-profit fair housing organizations, many operating on shoestring budgets, have investigated almost twice as many fair housing complaints as all relevant government agencies combined, according to a new report by the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Housing & Lending

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Lawmakers Respond to Supreme Court Ruling with Introduction of Arbitration Fairness Act

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In light of the recent AT&T vs. Concepcion Supreme Court case, Sen. Al Franken, D. Minn., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D. Conn., and Rep. Hank Johnson, D. Ga., are expected to reintroduce the Arbitration Fairness Act (AFA) this week. The AFA would invalidate mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, or civil rights disputes.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Civil and Human Coalition Opposes Legislation to Weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights opposed bills to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that were voted out of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit today.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Supreme Court Decision Limits Workers’ and Consumers’ Rights in Pursuit of Claims Against Corporations

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Consumers’ and employees’ right to class action lawsuits has been limited by the recent Supreme Court case ruling, AT&T v. Concepcion.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights, Judiciary

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Civil Rights Groups Warn Anti-Immigrant Bills Are Bad for Florida’s Economy

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Florida state Senate is expected to vote as early as today on S.B. 2040, a bill similar to Arizona’s controversial S.B. 1070 anti-immigrant law. If enacted, the Florida law would require employers to use a flawed and costly database to verify the immigration status of all employees and encourage police to engage in aggressive immigration enforcement targeting anyone suspected of being in the state without documentation.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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GW University to Host William Taylor Papers

Thursday, April 28, 2011

George Washington University has announced that civil rights champion William L. Taylor’s collection of legal papers, speeches, and historical documents will be housed at its Graduate School of Education and Human Development Gelman Library.  Taylor died in June 2010.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference, Civil Rights History

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Advocates Urge Increased Broadband Access for Minority Communities

Monday, April 25, 2011

A coalition of national civil rights and labor organizations sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging swift action to broaden the reach of broadband access as an economic imperative for minorities.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference, Media & Technology

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Report: Voter ID Proposals Threaten Voting Rights

Friday, April 22, 2011

The push to require a government-issued photo ID in order to vote could disenfranchise millions of voters, according to a recent report by the Advancement Project

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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Civil Rights Groups Highlight Progress in Stopping Arizona S.B. 1070 Copycat Efforts

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In the year following the passage of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, nearly a dozen states have rejected or reconsidered similar legislation, according to a new report by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Transportation Equity Creates Jobs, Expands Access

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In testimony submitted to the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee last week, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, stressed the importance of transportation equity as a pressing civil and human rights issue facing our country.

Read more >>

Categories: Transportation Equity

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Senators Urge Deferred Immigration Enforcement for DREAM Act-Eligible Students

Friday, April 15, 2011

In a letter this week to President Obama, 22 senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R. Nev., urged the administration to defer immigration enforcement proceedings for "all young people who meet the rigorous requirements necessary to be eligible for cancellation of removal or stay of removal under the DREAM Act."

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Shirley Sherrod

Friday, April 15, 2011

On May 12, the civil and human rights community will honor civil and human rights activist Shirley Sherrod with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for a lifelong advocacy on behalf of all working people.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls Obama Budget Plan ‘Fair’ to Low- and Moderate-Income Americans

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 organizations, welcomed the Obama administration’s $4 trillion deficit reduction plan released this week.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Seniors/Social Security

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Campaign for Better Care and Federal Government Launch Initiatives Encourage Better Hospital Care

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Campaign for Better Care (CBC), a campaign to ensure that health reform works for older adults with multiple health problems, launched an initiative this week focused on engaging patients and caregivers in improving hospital care to reduce preventable hospital-acquired illnesses and readmissions.

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care

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Report: Maintenance of Bank-Owned Properties Violates Fair Housing Standards

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Four fair housing organizations discovered severe racial disparities in how lenders secure and maintain foreclosed properties, according to a report released by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA).

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Discrimination

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Federal Appeals Court Rules Arizona Anti-Immigration Law Unconstitutional

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In a victory for the civil rights community, a federal appellate court ruled Monday in favor of a lower court’s decision to block controversial aspects of Arizona’s anti-immigration law.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration, Judiciary

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Senate Hearing: Looking Back on Census 2010, Preparing for Census 2020

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil rights groups played an essential role in ensuring a fair and accurate 2010 census, Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund, told lawmakers at a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee hearing last week.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Measuring Poverty Alleviation Efforts in America

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In anticipation of the release of newly collected poverty data in the fall of 2011, advocates, researchers, and policymakers are considering how statistical tools, such as the Supplemental Income Poverty Measure, can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of poverty alleviation efforts nationwide. 

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Congress to Introduce the Paycheck Fairness Act

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Senate and the House of Representatives will introduce the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) today in honor of Equal Pay Day, a day when people around the country call attention to disparities in salary between men and women.

The PFA updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially the same work.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Workers' Rights, Women's Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Congress to Reject Ryan's 'Draconian' Budget Resolution

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 organizations, is calling on Congress to reject the Fiscal Year 2012 budget resolution put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

"The Ryan budget makes cuts that are extreme and irresponsible, slashing or eliminating many services that are needed by communities represented by The Leadership Conference, including vulnerable and low-income people such as young children, students, older people, the jobless, and the uninsured," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, and Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president, in a letter to members of Congress.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Seniors/Social Security

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Goodwin Liu Voted out of Senate Judiciary Committee for Third Time

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended Goodwin Liu for a federal judgeship today for the third time, on a 10-8 party line vote.  The seat to which he has been nominated is considered a "judicial emergency."

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Department of Education Provides Guidance to Schools and Colleges on Handling Sexual Violence

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has issued a new guidance letter to schools and colleges to clarify Title IX requirements pertaining to sexual violence and harassment allegations.

Read more >>

Categories: Women's Rights, Education

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The Leadership Conference Calls for Strong Accountability Measures in ESEA Reform

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter this week to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions outlining its priorities for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with respect to accountability standards in Title I of the law. Title I provides federal funding to schools and school districts with a high percentage of students from low-income families.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Born in the USA? CAP Panel Reveals Support for Constitutional Citizenship

Monday, April 4, 2011

Recent attacks on constitutional citizenship are unfounded and distract from the vital task of building support for comprehensive immigration reform, according to conservative and progressive legal experts.

Read more >>

Categories: Americans for Constitutional Citizenship

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Richard Trumka

Friday, April 1, 2011

On May 12, the civil and human rights community will honor labor leader Richard Trumka with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for a lifelong advocacy on behalf of all working people.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights, The Leadership Conference

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Senate to Oppose 'Riders' in Appropriations Bill

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Leadership Conference – a civil and human rights coalition of more than 200 organizations – is urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D. Nev., to oppose riders in H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011.

In a letter to Senator Reid, Wade Henderson, president & CEO of The Leadership Conference, and Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president, write that "approved by the House, many of the provisions in the bill appear driven more by political ideology than a sincere interest in deficit reduction."

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Study: Discrimination Has a More Severe Effect on Low-Wage Earners

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The consequences of workplace discrimination are most severe for low-wage workers, according to a recent study by the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. 

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Discrimination, Workers' Rights

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Muslim Civil Rights Violations on the Rise, Durbin Hearing Shows

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Muslim Americans face rising religious discrimination in schools, workplaces and communities across the country, according to Tom Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, who testified yesterday at a congressional hearing on protecting the civil rights of Muslim Americans.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Religious Freedom

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Employment Non-Discrimination Act Is Re-Introduced in Congress

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UPDATE: ENDA was introduced in the Senate on April 14, 2011.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, was re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by Rep. Barney Frank, D. Mass.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Discrimination

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Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Wal-Mart Class Action Case

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, an employment discrimination class action lawsuit. Civil rights groups are watching the case closely because the Court’s decision could limit the use of “class action” lawsuits and make it harder to bring large-scale discrimination cases.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Workers' Rights, Women's Rights, Judiciary

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Americans for Constitutional Citizenship Coalition Now More than 80 Groups and Individuals

Monday, March 28, 2011

Americans for Constitutional Citizenship (ACC), a coalition dedicated to preserving the integrity of our nation’s Constitution and its guarantee of citizenship to all persons born in the United States, is now more than 80 civil and human rights organizations strong.

Read more >>

Categories: Americans for Constitutional Citizenship

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Report: Employers Discriminating Against Individuals with Criminal Records

Monday, March 28, 2011

Employers are discriminating against millions of Americans with criminal records, according to a report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Discrimination, Criminal Justice System

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VA Honors Civil Rights Legend Dorothy Height

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a proclamation to commemorate today as “Dorothy Irene Height Day” to commemorate the life and legacy of the late civil rights icon on what would have been her 99th birthday.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference, Civil Rights History

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Department of Justice Investigation Reveals Racial, LGBT, and Gender-Biased Policing by the New Orleans Police Department

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Use of excessive force, racial and ethnic profiling, and under-enforcement of violence against women are just a few of several constitutional and federal law violations made by the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), according to a report recently released by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Discrimination, Criminal Justice System

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Anniversary of Health Care Law Inspires Show of Support from Advocates and Beneficiaries

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One year after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, events around the country are highlighting how millions of people are benefiting from the law, providing an opportunity to reinvigorate supporters and to push back against those seeking to repeal or defund of some or all of its provisions.

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care, The Leadership Conference

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Improving the Immigration System through Executive Action

Monday, March 21, 2011

A report released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) last week entitled "Executive Action on Immigration: Six Ways to Make the System Work Better" provides recommendations to the Executive Branch for improving the nation's immigration system.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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The Importance of the American Community Survey

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stakeholders, including civil rights and community groups, are urging Congress to ensure adequate funding to maintain and expand the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) and ensure the continued reliability of data for all geographic areas and populations.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Obama Administration Holds Anti-Bullying Conference

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Last week, the Obama administration held a major anti-bullying conference to call attention to ways that schools and communities can combat bullying.

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA, Education

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Stands with Workers in Fight for Basic Rights

Friday, March 11, 2011

Following the Wednesday vote in Wisconsin to strip away the collective bargaining rights of public employees, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement:

 Yesterday’s actions in Wisconsin were an unprecedented assault on collective bargaining and one of the most significant challenges to civil and human rights in a generation.  That’s why the civil and human rights community won’t stand idle while Gov. Walker and his colleagues in Indiana, Ohio, and elsewhere seek to turn back the clock on American progress.

The unilateral action in Wisconsin is a threat not just to public workers but to all working people. These politicians are telling millions of Wisconsin’s families that they don’t deserve job security, that they don’t deserve health care benefits, and that they don’t deserve wages that can put food on their tables. Their actions are despicable and show that some politicians are willing to sacrifice their own constituents’ financial security in the name of ideological posturing.

Wisconsinites and the nation are responding appropriately but forcefully to the rollback of their civil and human rights.  The public outrage, the recall campaigns aimed at these senators and at Gov. Walker, and the outpouring of support from Americans of all backgrounds are just the beginning. The civil and human rights community stands with the working people of Wisconsin as we fight tooth and nail against these backward-looking proposals. 

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Trumka, Sherrod and Solmonese to Receive Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights will honor AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, lifelong social justice activist Shirley Sherrod, and Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese at its Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner to be held on May 12 in Washington, D.C.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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King Hearings Wrongfully Single Out American Muslims

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Civil and human rights groups again condemned today's anti-Muslim hearings in the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Rep. Peter King, R. N.Y.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Criminal Justice System

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NAACP Urges Rep. King to Rethink His ‘Reckless’ Hearings Singling Out the Muslim Community

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau, is urging Rep. Peter King, R. N.Y., to “reconsider holding the narrowly focused and reckless hearings” centered on domestic terrorism and the Muslim community in the United States scheduled for tomorrow, March 10.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Religious Freedom

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Civil Rights Coalition Urges Cancellation of Anti-Muslim Hearings, Releases Report on Racial Profiling

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is calling on Rep. Peter King, R. N.Y., to cancel a hearing scheduled for Thursday on "radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorists." The hearing is a "disservice to the seriousness of the topic of 'domestic terrorism,'" the coalition said.

Read more >>

Categories: Discrimination, Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights Group Identifies Essential Programs Facing Severe Cuts in House Budget Bill

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In a letter to U.S. senators urging them to oppose House Resolution 1 (H.R. 1), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is raising concerns about proposed budget cuts to programs serving the needs of the most vulnerable Americans.

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Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Deadline for David Carliner Public Interest Lawyer Award Is March 14

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The American Constitution Society (ACS) is accepting applications for the 2011 David Carliner Public Interest Award through March 14. The $10,000 award is for mid-career public interest lawyers whose work exemplifies its namesake' commitment to advocacy on behalf of marginalized people.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Henderson: Immigration’s Effect on Native-Born Minorities Is Complicated

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, appeared before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement this week to testify on how political rhetoric oversimplifies the complicated economic effects that immigration has on native-born minorities, introducing unnecessary tensions into communities that share many common interests and could work together on many fronts.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil Rights Groups Urge Senate to Confirm Goodwin Liu to Federal Bench

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Civil rights groups are urging the Senate to confirm Goodwin Liu, nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, following his second successful hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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WH Report: Gender Pay Disparities Persist Despite Increase in Women with Higher Education

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Despite an increase in the number of women pursuing higher education, disparities between women and men still exist in the employment sector, according to a report compiled by the Council on Women and Girls, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Economics and Statistics Administration. 

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity, Women's Rights, Education

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Report: House Budget Plan Will Hurt Americans

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The budget proposed by the House of Representatives will harm millions of children, students, seniors, and people with disabilities, according to a new report by the Coalition on Human Needs. 

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy

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Civil Rights Groups: Lending Settlement Must Help Struggling Homeowners

Friday, February 25, 2011

Civil rights and consumer groups are pushing back on efforts to limit the relief that struggling homeowners could potentially get out of a settlement with banks engaging in abusive and illegal servicing practices that threaten millions of homes.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Unemployed Workers Experience Hiring Discrimination

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Even though there are millions of unemployed workers looking for jobs, some employers are excluding them from job applicant pools regardless of their qualifications, a trend that is growing according to testimony before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last week.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Equal Opportunity, Discrimination, Workers' Rights

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Infographic: Tax Breaks for the Wealthy, Corporations versus Programs Helping Children, the Unemployed, and Low-Income Families

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Center for American Progress has produced an infographic comparing the budget cuts to 10 federal safety programs being proposed by House Republicans against various tax breaks that primarily benefit corporations and the wealthy.

For example, the $8.9 billion in proposed cuts to low-income housing programs is equal to $8.9 billion in tax breaks given to people who pay mortgage interest on a vacation home.

Image source: The Center for American Progress

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Duncan Appoints Five Leadership Conference Executive Committee Members to Education Equity Commission

Friday, February 18, 2011

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday appointed 28 education, advocacy, business, and law professionals – including five members of the Executive Committee of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights – to the Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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House Votes to Block Enforcement of 'Gainful Employment' Rules

Friday, February 18, 2011

The House of Representatives today approved legislation that would block the Department of Education from enforcing a rule designed to hold for-profit colleges accountable for preparing its students for employment. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. John Kline, R. Minn., was passed as an amendment to the FY2011 Continuing Resolution, which would fund the federal government through the end of September.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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First African-American Judge from Mississippi Confirmed to Serve on the Fifth Circuit

Friday, February 18, 2011

This week, the U.S. Senate confirmed James E. Graves Jr. to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the federal appellate court that presides over Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. Graves is the first African-American judge from Mississippi to serve on the Fifth Circuit.

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Categories: Discrimination, Judiciary

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Defends Funding for Women’s Health Services

Friday, February 18, 2011

The civil and human rights community is urging the Senate to vote down legislation that would cut all funding to Title X programs, which was passed by the House of Representatives today. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence, R. Ind., is part of the FY2011 Continuing Resolution, which would fund the federal government through the end of September.

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care, Women's Rights

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Report Addresses Race and Inequality in the Illinois Criminal Justice System

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A report recently released by an Illinois state government commission examines the impact of state drug laws on minority communities and recommends possible solutions to the overrepresentation of Blacks and Latinos within the state criminal justice system.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights Groups Oppose Deep Cuts to Vital Federal Programs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Civil rights groups and anti-poverty advocates are calling on the House of Representatives to reject legislation that would make massive cuts in essential federal programs through the remainder of fiscal 2011, which ends September 30. The House is expected to vote today on the proposal, which would slash funding for education, health care, affordable housing, energy assistance and other vital domestic programs and could damage our still-fragile economic recovery.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Report Documents Challenges to Successful Census in the Gulf Coast and Texas Colonias

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Despite increased attention to the unique challenges faced by these regions, there were still a number of problems that hampered 2010 Census operations in the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, and the Texas Colonias, according to a new Leadership Conference Education Fund report.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Seeks to Protect Military Families from Predatory Lending

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Holly Petraeus, head of the Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA) at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), testified recently before the House Committee on Veteran Affairs on the importance of protecting servicemembers from predatory lending practices.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Housing & Lending

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Colorado Copycat Anti-Immigrant Bill Fails

Friday, February 11, 2011

The sponsor of Colorado’s version of a controversial Arizona anti-immigration bill wants lawmakers to kill his bill before it even gets a hearing.  The bill’s defeat comes as several states are introducing bills similar to Arizona’s S.B. 1070, which gives local police the authority to investigate anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Wade Henderson Participates in Conversation on Modern Day Slavery

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, spoke Tuesday at the State Department with Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, on ways of combating human trafficking and modern day slavery. The discussion was part of an ongoing video program by the Bureau of Public Affairs entitled "Conversations with America,” which aims to provide insight into how the leaders of national nongovernmental organizations engage with senior State Department officials around foreign policy and global issues.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Women's Rights, Civil Rights History

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State Department to Host Web “Conversation” on U.S. Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Tuesday, February 8, 2011, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Luis CdeBaca, ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, will hold a conversation on U.S. efforts to monitor and combat modern slavery, which will be streamed live on DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights

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Report: Reduce Corrections Spending and Reincarceration

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Council of State Governments Justice Center recently released recommendations on lowering crime rates, reincarceration and corrections spending.

The National Summit on Justice Reinvestment and Public Safety focuses on providing solutions for a correctional system in crisis.  The U.S. prison and jail population reached a record 2.3 million in 2008.   More than seven million people, or one in every 31 Americans,  are under some form of correctional control, with rates substantially higher in minority populations.  Corrections spending is one of the fastest growing line items in state budgets, second only to medical care.  Despite this, rates of recidivism remain unchanged, with almost 40 percent of released prisoners returning to jail within three years. 

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Briefing Highlights Positive Relationships between Arab-American Community and Law Enforcement

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Last Thursday, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to publicize the positive relationship between Arab-American communities and law enforcement.

Read more >>

Categories: Promoting Diversity, Religious Freedom, Criminal Justice System

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New NAEP Science Scores Reveal Significant Achievement Gaps

Friday, February 4, 2011

New data on fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders' proficiency in science from the National Assessment Governing Board (NABG) reveals significant gaps at every level between White and minority students, as well as gaps among urban students and rural and suburban students.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Report: Local Immigration Enforcement Creates Environment for Racial Profiling

Friday, February 4, 2011

Controversial federal statute 287(g), an immigration policy that allows the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to delegate local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws, is doing more to harm than to help communities, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).

Read more >>

Categories: Racial Profiling, Immigration, Discrimination, Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights Groups Urge Education Department to Issue "Gainful Employment" Regulation

Friday, February 4, 2011

A group of civil rights, education, labor, and consumer organizations, including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, sent a letter yesterday to the Department of Education in support of a proposed regulation of for-profit colleges that will spare millions of students "entry into a proven dead-end educational track, while also sparing taxpayers otherwise on the hook for their federal student loans."

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Transgender People Face “Injustice at Every Turn”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The National Center for Transgender Equity (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force recently released “Injustice at Every Turn,” an  extensive study of the transgender and gender non-conforming community that shows tragic social and economic trends indicating injustices and discrimination against transgender people on a massive scale. 

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA, LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights

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Special Inspector General Says Foreclosure Relief Program Needs to Be Strengthened

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A government official appointed to review the federal government's foreclosure relief program says that the program is failing, but could work better if the Treasury Department re-evaluates, sets clear and realistic goals, and holds loan servicers accountable for frequent errors and misconduct.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Civil Rights Groups Push for Relief as Foreclosure Crisis Intensifies

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Civil rights groups are pushing government at all levels to do more to alleviate the suffering of struggling homeowners as new data indicates that the foreclosure crisis that began in 2006 and played a central role in the economic collapse of 2008 is continuing unabated, and even intensifying.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules to Protect Employee’s Family from Retaliation

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Supreme Court last week ruled in a unanimous 8-0 decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which protects employees against job discrimination, forbids an employer from firing the fiancé of an employee as retaliation for her complaining about sexual discrimination.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Workers' Rights

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New Coalition Applauds President’s Call for Transportation Investment

Monday, January 31, 2011

A new coalition dedicated to increasing and improving transportation options for all Americans – particularly those in minority and low-income communities – is applauding President Obama for highlighting the need to invest in transportation to help rebuild America during his State of the Union address last Tuesday.

Read more >>

Categories: Transportation Equity

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Obama Nominates Two to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Monday, January 31, 2011

President Obama recently nominated Roberta Achtenberg and Marty Castro to serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent advisory commission charged with investigating and reporting on all levels of government to ensure all citizens' civil rights were protected.

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Categories: Human Rights, Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Americans for Constitutional Citizenship Denounces Anti-Citizenship Resolution

Friday, January 28, 2011

Americans for Constitutional Citizenship (ACC) is opposing a resolution introduced by Sens. David Vitter, R. La., and Rand Paul, R. Ky., which would deny citizenship to children born on U.S. soil to undocumented immigrants.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration, Discrimination, Americans for Constitutional Citizenship

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Report: Municipal Anti-Immigrant Laws Hurting Economies and Communities

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In recent years, states and localities across the country have enacted divisive anti-immigrant legislation that has led to costly lawsuits and sharply divided communities. A newly released Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report examines the economic and community backlash that can follow the enactment of these laws and concludes that the price of such legislation is quite high.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Attorney General to Issue Prosecution Guidance on New Crack Cocaine Law

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is urging Attorney General Eric Holder to "work with some urgency" toward issuing new sentencing guidelines to federal prosecutors in light of the passage last August of the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the discriminatory sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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EEOC Reports Unprecedented Number of Charges of Workplace Discrimination Filed Last Year

Monday, January 24, 2011

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a dramatic increase in charges of private sector workplace discrimination filed throughout all major categories – including race, age, disability, and religion – during the 2010 fiscal year.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity, Workers' Rights

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National Education Report Card Gives Nation Low Marks in Achievement and Equity

Friday, January 21, 2011

The nation's schools received an average grade of "C" in the latest edition of Education Week's "Quality Counts," the most comprehensive assessment of American education.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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New Reports Expose Violations of Workers’ Human Rights

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two recent reports – "A Strange Case" by Human Rights Watch and "Voices for Change" by TransAfrica Forum – examine violations of workers’ basic civil and human rights at several global branches of Sodexo, a France-based food distribution company.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Workers' Rights

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Federal Court Unanimously Upholds University of Texas’ Equal Opportunity Admissions Policy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In a significant victory for advancing equal opportunity in higher education, on January 18, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the constitutionality of University of Texas at Austin's (UT Austin) current admissions policy, which considers race as one of several factors.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity, Education

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Civil Rights Coalition Opposes Legislation to Repeal Health Care Reform Law

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to the House of Representatives today opposing proposed legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which the coalition calls "vital to improving the health of our nation’s most underserved communities."

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Releases Legislative Priorities for 112th Congress

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations that works to build an America that's as good as its ideals, recently sent a letter to Congress outlining its legislative priorities for the 112th Congress.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Americans for Constitutional Citizenship Denounces Rep. King's Anti-Citizenship Bill

Friday, January 7, 2011

Americans for Constitutional Citizenship (ACC) is calling a bill to deny citizenship to children born on U.S. soil to undocumented immigrants introduced by Rep. Steve King, R. Iowa, in the House of Representatives yesterday "unconstitutional: and "un-American."

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil and Human Rights Community Urges Senate Vote on Obama’s Renominated Judges

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yesterday, President Obama renominated 42 judges who had been voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the last Congress but had not received a vote on the Senate floor.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Civil Rights Groups Announce Coalition to Protect American Citizenship

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today, a group of civil and human rights organizations and legal scholars announced the formation of a new coalition, called Americans for Constitutional Citizenship (ACC), to fight efforts at the state and federal level to undermine the Constitution’s guarantee of citizenship for all persons born in the U.S. This includes recently announced attempts by a group of state legislators to push state-level legislation to deny the privileges of U.S citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration, Discrimination, Americans for Constitutional Citizenship

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Senate Nears Adjournment Without Voting on Critical Judicial Nominations

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Senate headed toward adjournment on Wednesday having voted to confirm only 19 of the 38 judicial nominations pending on the Senate floor. The other 19 nominations fell victim to a two-year campaign of obstruction by Republican senators that prevented even the most noncontroversial nominees from getting an up-or-down confirmation vote on the Senate floor.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Census Bureau Releases First 2010 Census Data

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau released the first results of the 2010 census today. These findings were delivered to President Obama by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, as required by the Constitution.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Congress Passes Bill to Increase Number of Low Power FM Stations

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Local Community Radio Act, which will help increase the number of low power FM (LPFM) stations in the United States, is poised to become law following passage in the House of Representatives on Friday and passage in the Senate on Saturday.

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Senate Passes 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Repeal

Saturday, December 18, 2010

UPDATE: President Obama signed the repeal law on December 22.

 

The Senate today passed legislation to repeal the discriminatory "don't ask don't tell" law banning gay and lesbian servicemembers from serving openly in the U.S. military.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Senate Fails to Pass DREAM Act, Again

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Today, the Senate failed to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Report Analyzes Successful Campaign to Defeat Colorado’s Anti-Equal Opportunity Ballot Measure

Friday, December 17, 2010

The University of Colorado at Boulder recently released a report analyzing the key factors that led to the defeat (49 percent – 51 percent) of Amendment 46, a ballot initiative that would have amended the Colorado state constitution to ban equal opportunity in public higher education, employment and contracting in 2008.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Business, Civil Rights Groups Challenge Arizona Law on Undocumented Workers

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about whether an Arizona law prohibiting employers from hiring undocumented immigrants conflicts with federal immigration law. 

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration, Workers' Rights

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Senate to Vote on DREAM Act and 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Repeal

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sen. Harry Reid, D. Nev., has scheduled votes on the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented immigrant youth whose parents brought them to the U.S. with a path to citizenship if they pursue higher education or serve in the military, and a bill to repeal "don't ask don't tell," the current law requiring lesbian and gay servicemembers to conceal their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

Both bills are top priorities for the civil and human rights community.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Immigration

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Anti-Poverty Campaign’s Online Quiz Seeks to Educate the Public

Thursday, December 16, 2010

As part of its effort to raise public awareness, the Half in Ten campaign is encouraging people to take an online quiz to test their understanding of poverty issues in the United States.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Wade Henderson among Advocates Appearing in Characters Unite Civil Rights Documentary

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, appears in a USA Network/NBC Characters Unite special, "Tom Brokaw Presents Bridging the Divide," as one of several civil and human rights advocates commenting on the "state of the civil rights movement in our changing nation."

The special aired on Friday, December 10.  Check out the video on the Characters Unite website or click "Read More" to view the video.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference, Civil Rights History

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Report Card Finds Most States Falling Short on Women’s Health

Friday, December 10, 2010

Despite some progress, the majority of states received an "unsatisfactory" grade in an annual report card on women's health issued by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Only two states – Massachusetts and Vermont – received a "satisfactory" grade, while the District of Columbia and 11 other states received a failing grade.

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care, Women's Rights

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Government Officials Contribute to Online Video Campaign for LGBT Youth

Friday, December 10, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D. Calif., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Tom Perez, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius have recently contributed short online videos to the "It Gets Better Project," offering their unique words of support to LGBT youth.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Wade Henderson Receives Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, was one of four recipients of The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights today.  Recipients are honored for advocating "tirelessly for human rights, both at home and abroad."

"I cannot begin to tell you how humbled I am to receive this award in the name of Eleanor Roosevelt, whose devotion to civil and human rights gave birth to a set of universal principles that continue to transform our world for good," said Henderson.  "This award really belongs to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations working together for an America as good as its ideals."

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, The Leadership Conference

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New Report Documents Exploitation of Truck Drivers at Nation’s Ports

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thousands of truck drivers shuttling cargo at major ports in the U.S. are being denied basic civil and human rights due to companies illegally hiring them as “independent contractors” rather than employees, according to “The Big Rig: Poverty, Pollution, and the Misclassification of Truck Drivers at America’s Ports,” a groundbreaking new report examining the working conditions and employment status of 110,000 port truckers.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Senate Vote on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Blocked

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A minority of senators succeeded today in blocking consideration of legislation that would repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Women's Rights Advocates Make the Case for CEDAW Ratification

Friday, December 3, 2010

Women's rights advocates recently told the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law that it is critical for the U.S. as a global leader on human rights to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

"The United States has long stood for the principles of equal justice, the rule of law, respect for women, and the defense of human dignity. We know that women around the world look to the United States as a moral leader on human rights. And yet when it comes to the Women's Treaty, which reflects the fundamental principle that women’s rights are human rights, we stand with only a handful of countries that have not ratified," said Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the Office of Global Women's Issues in the U.S. Department of State, in her testimony. "And we stand on the sidelines, unable to use the Women's Treaty to join with champions of human rights who seek to use it as a means to protect and defend women’s basic human rights."

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Women's Rights

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Supreme Court Hears Case on Prison Overcrowding

Friday, December 3, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a case that concerns whether overcrowding in California prisons, which has led to grossly unsanitary conditions and inadequate access to medical and mental health care, warrants a court ordered reduction of nearly 40,000 prisoners within two years.

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Categories: Human Rights, Judiciary, Criminal Justice System

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Pentagon Study Shows Majority of Military Sees No Harm in Repealing 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell'

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Pentagon study to assess the impact of repealing the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers found that repeal would pose little risk to military effectiveness.

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Categories: Human Rights, LGBTQ Rights

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Congress Lets Emergency Unemployment Benefits Expire, Millions Facing Potential Loss of Income

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Efforts to approve an extension of emergency unemployment benefits before a November 30 deadline were blocked in the Senate last night, leaving millions of workers and their families facing the potential loss of vital income heading into the holiday season.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Senate Passes Compensation Bill for African-American Farmers and American Indians

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Friday, the Senate approved a nearly $4.6 billion settlement for African-American farmers and American Indians who filed claims against the federal government more than a decade ago.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity, Indigenous Peoples

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Despite Progress, Study Finds Women and Minorities Still Underrepresented in Executive Positions

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A recent study by Calvert Investments found that women and minorities are still underrepresented in top-level positions in companies despite their increasing workforce participation.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Equal Opportunity

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Hate Crimes Down in 2009, But Much Work Left to Be Done

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reported hate crimes in 2009 fell 15 percent from 2008 to 6,604 incidents, the lowest level since 1994, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s annual "Hate Crimes Statistics" report released today.

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Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Civil Rights Book Club: Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama's Speeches, from the State House to the White House

Friday, November 19, 2010

Barack Obama was an Illinois state senator running for the U.S. Senate when he was tapped by Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign to deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Although Obama had never before used a teleprompter, his 17-minute speech helped set the stage for one of the most dramatic ascents in U.S. political history. Overnight, Obama went from being an unknown state lawmaker with a funny name to a rising superstar in the Democratic Party.

That address and 17 others provide the framework for "Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama's Speeches, from the State House to the White House," by Mary Frances Berry, an acclaimed historian and former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Josh Gottheimer, a former presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton. The 18 speeches, reproduced in full, cover a six-year period beginning with Obama's 2002 rationale for opposing the war in Iraq to his 2008 presidential victory speech in Hyde Park.

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Categories: Civil Rights History

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New Bureau for Protecting Financial Consumers Needs Public Input

Friday, November 19, 2010

In response to the financial disaster that has devastated entire communities and upended millions of lives, The Leadership Conference joined a broad coalition of civil rights, labor, and consumer advocacy groups, known as Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), to help enact the most sweeping set of federal financial reforms since the Great Depression. 

The financial reform bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in July includes the creation of an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The new CFPB, which was one of the reforms most strongly supported by AFR, will fill the gaps in existing regulatory structures, and – more importantly – will ensure that consumer protection laws are vigorously enforced.

Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, who played a major role in the crafting of the new law, is pulling together a team to set up the new consumer agency. And with a wide range of harmful activities to tackle, AFR is asking the public to participate in a survey on priorities for the CFPB.  Please take a moment to fill out the survey, and AFR will make sure that the results get to Elizabeth Warren and her team.

Categories: Housing & Lending

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CA Supreme Court Preserves In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

Friday, November 19, 2010

The California Supreme Court this week ruled that undocumented immigrants may continue to be eligible for in-state-tuition rates at California state colleges and universities.

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Categories: Immigration, Education

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Senate Won't Consider Paycheck Fairness Act

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today a minority of senators blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.  

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Equal Opportunity, Workers' Rights, Women's Rights

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New Poll Shows Strong Public Support for Extending Unemployment Benefits

Monday, November 15, 2010

With the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6 percent, a clear majority of Americans thinks it is premature for Congress to start cutting off extended unemployment benefits to workers, according to a new poll by Hart Research Associates.

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Categories: Jobs & Economy, Workers' Rights

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U.N. Examines U.S. Human Rights Record

Friday, November 12, 2010

For the first time in its history, the United States defended its human rights record before the United Nations Human Rights Council under the new Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process last week. Its presentation before the council and its subsequent Town Hall meeting with various nongovernmental organizations was the culmination of an extensive process in soliciting input, as required by the UPR process, on the state of human rights in the U.S.

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Categories: Human Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Identifies Six Priorities for Lame Duck Congress

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Congress returns to work next Monday for the lame-duck session, the last work period of the 111th Congress before the new Congress is sworn in next year. 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has identified the following six goals as the civil and human rights community's highest priorities for the lame duck session:

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Categories: Human Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights, The Leadership Conference, Women's Rights, Judiciary, Education

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Arizona Voters Pass Proposition 107 Eliminating Equal Opportunity

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Proposition 107, a ballot initiative to amend the Arizona constitution to eliminate equal opportunity programs, such as affirmative action, in public higher education, employment and contracting, was passed by voters (60 percent to 40 percent) on November 2. 

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Aggressive Use of ‘Ballot Security’ Measures Raising Civil Rights Concerns

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The growing use of "ballot security" measures aimed at limiting voter fraud has raised civil rights concerns because of their potential to disrupt the voting process, to disproportionately target minority voters, and to cause voter confusion and intimidation, according to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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Election Protection Using Twitter to Defend Voting Rights

Friday, October 29, 2010

This election season, Election Protection (EP), the nation's largest non-partisan voter protection coalition, will be using Twitter as part of its election monitoring activities.

EP is encouraging voters to send Tweets if they are experiencing problems at the polls such as "long lines, voter intimidation, suspicious behavior, voting machine malfunctions, and registration errors."

Read more >>

Categories: Voting Rights

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Study Shows Extensive Racial Profiling by New York City Police

Friday, October 29, 2010

A recent study by the Center for Constitutional Rights found that the New York City Police Department has been conducting its stop-question-and-frisk policy in a manner consistent with racial profiling.  

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Criminal Justice System

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On Election Day, Arizona Will Vote on Equal Opportunity

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On November 2, Arizona voters will vote on Proposition 107, a ballot initiative proposing to amend the state's constitution to eliminate equal opportunity programs in public higher education, employment, and contracting.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Shenandoah Teens Convicted of Federal Hate Crime

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A federal jury recently convicted Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak of hate crimes charges stemming from the July 2008 fatal beating of Luiz Ramirez, a 25-year-old Mexican immigrant.

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Guest Post: The U.N. Is 65 and Going Strong

Monday, October 25, 2010

This article was written by Don Kraus, chief executive officer of Citizens for Global Solutions, and is cross-posted from Global Solutions Blog. Citizens for Global Solutions is a membership organization that envisions a world where nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone. It works to build political will in the United States to achieve this vision.

Today we recognize the 65th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.  The world has changed dramatically since October 24th, 1945 when 51 nations banded together "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."  Those intervening 65 years were perhaps the most consequential in the entire history of humanity and the U.N. has played a vital role.

In 1945 the world's population was about 2.5 billion.  Europe was in disarray. Ethiopia, Egypt, and Liberia were the only independent nations in Africa.  Today, there are close to 7 billion people in the world and 192 U.N. member nations. Revolutions in communications, agriculture, health-care, transportation and governance have fueled an increasingly interdependent world.  

When the U.N. was established, the word "genocide" had not even been invented. There were very few international laws and organizations.  Today the U.N. has negotiated over 510 multilateral treaties on human rights, terrorism, global crime, refugees, disarmament, trade, commodities, the oceans and many other matters. U.N. member states have built a global web of institutions, laws, and norms to manage everything from international flights to world economics and genocide prevention.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights

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Final Census Participation Rate Matches 2000 Census Rate

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Census Bureau reported today that 74 percent of households completed their census forms and mailed them back, matching the final participation rate of the 2000 census.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Employment of People with Disabilities Improving, but Disparities Remain, According to Surveys

Friday, October 22, 2010

Twenty years after the enactment of Americans with Disabilities Act, gaps and disparities in the employment situation of people with disabilities still remain, according to recent surveys conducted by the Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability (NOD).

Read more >>

Categories: Disability Rights

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Report: 1.2 Million Workers Facing Potential Loss of Unemployment Benefits

Friday, October 22, 2010

A new report from the National Employment Law Project estimates that 1.2 million workers will lose unemployment benefits if Congress fails to pass an emergency extension by a November 30 cutoff date.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Workers' Rights

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President Obama Announces Commitment to Rebuilding Nation’s Aging Transportation System

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Following up on his Labor Day announcement calling for a $50 billion transportation and infrastructure investment, President Obama last week met with a group of governors and mayors to affirm his commitment to a bipartisan six-year plan for strengthening the nation's aging system of roads, railways, and airports.

Read more >>

Categories: Jobs & Economy, Transportation Equity

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The Leadership Conference Responds to Reports That Civil Rights Complaints to the Department of Education Are Up

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Associated Press reported last week that the Department of Education has received a record number of complaints that the civil rights of students are being violated. According to the AP, the complaints are up 11 percent this fiscal year to about 7,000. The complaints range from racial disparities in discipline and suspension rates to inadequate education for English language learners and unequal treatment of students with disabilities.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Education

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Civil Rights Groups’ Lawsuit Challenging the Constitutionality of S.B. 1070 Advances

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton upheld key parts of a class action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, brought by a coalition of civil rights groups on behalf of labor, domestic violence, day laborer, human services, and social justice organizations.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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U.S. District Judge Issues Injunction on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of California ordered the Department of Defense to suspend all investigations and discharges of lesbian and gay troops in the military under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Nine Recommendations for Federal Action to Combat Bullying and Harassment

Friday, October 8, 2010

This week, a group of more than 70 civil rights organizations, including The Leadership Conference, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, offered a set of recommendations for federal action, in the wake of the deaths of four teens who had been reportedly subjected to harassment and bullying based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA, LGBTQ Rights

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Civil Rights Groups Call for Moratorium on Home Foreclosures

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Fair Housing Alliance, National Council of La Raza, the NAACP, and the Center for Responsible Lending are calling for an immediate national moratorium on foreclosures.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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AP Appoints Sonya Ross as First Race/Ethnicity/Demographics Editor

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Associated Press (AP) recently appointed veteran journalist Sonya Ross to be the organization's first-ever race, ethnicity, and demographics editor. The new position comes at a time when sophisticated reporting by and about racial minority communities is not keeping up with the pace of their growth. 

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Diverse ‘One Nation’ March Highlights Need for Bold Solutions, Voter Turnout in November

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nearly 200,000 people from across America came together Saturday to rally for "jobs, justice, and education" at the "One Nation Working Together" march on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The march was designed to spur elected officials to enact a bold agenda to move our country forward, and to urge voters to take part in the mid-term elections on November 2.

Read more >>

Categories: Promoting Diversity, Poverty & Welfare, Equal Opportunity, Immigration, Workers' Rights, The Leadership Conference, Civil Rights History, Education

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The Leadership Conference Announces New Executive Committee Officers

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights recently announced that Lee A. Saunders will serve as the coalition's treasurer and Barry Rand will serve as the coalition's secretary.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Website Maps 2010 Poverty Rates by Congressional District

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Half in Ten campaign has released its latest interactive poverty map to help advocates, elected officials, and policymakers get a clearer picture of how increasing poverty rates are affecting constituents.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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New Interactive Map Shows 2009 Poverty Rates by Congressional District

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Half in Ten campaign has developed a new interactive tool that will help advocates, elected officials, and policymakers get a clearer picture of how increasing poverty rates are affecting constituents.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil Rights Book Club: “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”

Friday, October 1, 2010

In the award-winning young adult novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," Sherman Alexie creates a vivid and heartfelt account of the life of Junior, a young Native American living on a reservation. Through Junior's humorous diary entries and cartoons, Alexie fuses words and images to depict the difficult journey many Native Americans face.

Heavily based on Alexie's personal experiences, this fictional story depicts struggles, injustices and the long-lasting effects of historical oppression toward Native Americans. Although Junior is a young adult, he must face the reality of living in utter poverty, contend with the discrimination of those outside of the reservation, cope with a community and a family ravaged and often killed by alcoholism, break cultural barriers at an all-White high school, and maintain the perseverance needed to hope and work for a better future.

While Alexie depicts a desolate picture of life on a reservation, he also creates a beautiful story that allows one to examine the changes it takes to remedy an unjust social system. Ultimately, one leaves the book with a message of hope and a new call to activism.

The Civil Rights Book Club seeks to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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GAO Analysis Finds Female Managers Underrepresented and Subject to a Gender Pay Gap

Thursday, September 30, 2010

At a recent hearing, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee heard testimony from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the prevalence of female managers, their marital and education status, and their differences in pay compared to male managers.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights, Women's Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Community to Hold 'One Nation Working Together' Rally on October 2

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Saturday, October 2, hundreds of thousands of people will come to Washington, D.C., from all over the United States to participate in the "One Nation Working Together" rally for "jobs, justice, and education" at the Lincoln Memorial. The rally will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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One Nation Working Together Blogmobile’s Cross Country Journey for Change

Monday, September 27, 2010

On September 25, seven social advocates from One Nation Working Together in California embarked on a journey to Washington, D.C., as part of the One Nation Working Together Blogmobile.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Immigration

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New Report Documents Damaging Effects of Racial Profiling

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rights Working Group (RWG) has released a new report that documents the pervasive use of racial profiling in America and calls on all levels of government to ban "all forms of racial and religious profiling by law enforcement."

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Delayed Nominees to Federal Courts

Friday, September 24, 2010

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved 14 of 15 judicial nominees, including several who have been denied confirmation votes on the Senate floor for months due to an unprecedented campaign of obstruction.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Opponents Block Senate Votes on 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' Repeal and DREAM Act

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yesterday, the Senate failed to garner enough votes to begin debating the Department of Defense authorization bill, making it less likely that the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal and the DREAM Act, which were both added to the bill as amendments, will become law this year.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Immigration

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Kaiser Foundation Launches Website to Explain the Health Care Reform Law

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has launched a new website that provides a comprehensive explanation of the recently enacted health care reform law.

The website contains a detailed summary of the law, a timeline showing when the law's many provisions go into effect, and up-to-date-analysis on the implementation of the law, which can be browsed by topic and state. Other useful tools on the website include reports, government resources, and public opinion polls.

Categories: Health Care

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Senate Expected to Vote on DREAM Act Soon

Monday, September 20, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D. Nev., is expected to bring the Development, Relief and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act to the floor this month. It will be offered as an amendment to a defense bill.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil Rights Coalition Says Warren's Appointment to Oversee New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Is a Positive Step

Friday, September 17, 2010

Following news that President Obama will appoint Elizabeth Warren to oversee the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as the assistant to the president and special advisor to the secretary of the Treasury, Leadership Conference Executive Vice President Nancy Zirkin said:

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Housing & Lending

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Supporters Rally to Restore Voting Rights to Ex-Felons

Friday, September 17, 2010

The National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA) hosted a rally today at the University of the District of Columbia in support of legislation that would restore voting rights to ex-felons.

Speakers at the event included individuals affected by felony disenfranchisement; members of the NBLSA; Katherine S. Broderick, dean of the University of the District of Columbia's Law School; and representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Kimberly Haven, executive director of Justice Maryland, described the feeling of having her voting rights restored due to Maryland's Voting Registration Protection Act: "My vote is my voice. My voice is my power."

Categories: Criminal Justice System, Voting Rights

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Civil Rights Groups Call on Congress to Reduce Poverty

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Following the release of the Census Bureau's 2009 data, civil and human rights groups are calling on policymakers to take bold steps to reduce the number of people living in poverty in the United States. 

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Housing & Lending

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Facing Unprecedented Obstruction, Obama Renominates Five Federal Judges

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On September 13, President Obama resubmitted five nominees to sit on federal courts to the Senate, all of whom had been previously nominated and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee months ago. 

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Categories: Judiciary

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Walking With the Wind'

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In "Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement," Rep. John Lewis, D. Ga., a civil rights hero, tells the story of the civil rights movement through the riveting account of his own life and experiences.

After leaving his rural Alabama hometown to join the fight for civil rights, Lewis was arrested more than 40 times and suffered several instances of police brutality -- including on the infamous day in Selma known as "Bloody Sunday" -- as he helped draw national attention to the growing civil rights movement. Lewis, who served several years as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, is the only living speaker from the historic 1963 March on Washington and remains one of the movement's most venerated figures. He translates the same honesty and intensity he effused then into this stunning autobiography.

As Lewis continues the fight in Congress for civil rights, his story remains an essential testament to our nation’s long struggle for equality.

 The Civil Rights Book Club seeks to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Civil Rights Organizations Urge the Senate to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Civil rights organizations are urging the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would help women workers who suffer from wage discrimination.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights, Women's Rights

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National Black Law Student Association to Hold Rally for the Democracy Restoration Act

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On September 17, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) will hold a rally in support of the Democracy Restoration Act (DRA) of 2009 from 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System, Voting Rights

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Delegate Norton Proposes Naming Major D.C. Post Office for Civil Rights Icon Dorothy Height

Monday, September 13, 2010

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Wade Henderson and others outside the post office at 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D. D.C., plans to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives this week that would name the U.S. post office at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, next to Union Station, in honor of civil rights icon Dr. Dorothy I. Height, who passed away in April.

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Categories: Civil Rights History

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Remembering the Legacy of Activist and Scholar Dr. Ronald Walters

Monday, September 13, 2010

Professor Ronald W. Walters, a life-long civil rights advocate, renowned scholar, and political adviser, died of cancer on Friday. He was 72.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Civil Rights Groups Say Court Decision Means Congress Should Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Friday, September 10, 2010

Civil rights organizations are urging Congress to move more quickly toward repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that the policy is unconstitutional.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Judiciary

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Interfaith Coalition to Address Anti-Muslim Discrimination

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A group of religious leaders have formed an interfaith coalition to aid Muslim communities facing rising discrimination and opposition in building or expanding their places of worship.

Read more >>

Categories: Religious Freedom

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Report Warns Foreclosure Crisis Threatens Voting Rights

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last week, the Fair Elections Legal Network released a report detailing how the voting rights of many people with foreclosed homes may be in danger this election cycle unless Secretaries of State in each state take action. 

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending, Voting Rights

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Remembering Civil Rights Icon Jefferson Thomas

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jefferson A. Thomas, a civil rights icon who helped open the way for school desegregation, died Sunday, September 5, of pancreatic cancer.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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One Nation Working Together: An Interfaith Call to Action for Civil and Human Rights

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Saturday, August 28, faith leaders and civil and human rights advocates gathered at Shiloh Baptist Church to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and commit themselves to renewed activism for social justice.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Born to Use Mics'

Monday, August 30, 2010

“Born to Use Mics,” a meticulous analysis of Nas’ critically acclaimed 1994 debut Illmatic, ventures deep into each track and examines the social context and constructs that influenced the album, and in-turn the entire hip-hop genre.  Edited by Michael Eric Dyson, a professor at Georgetown University, and with an introduction by Grammy award winning rapper and actor Common, “Born to Use Mics” goes beneath the face-value of Nas’ classic verses and beats to derive his influences, both political and musical.

Illmatic paints a true picture of life in the streets, and "Born to Use Mics" employs the album as a starting-point to delve into the hardships of the final years of the crack era.  Investigating the effects of "trickle-down" economics and the far-reaching influences of crack cocaine on communities everywhere, "Born to Use Mics" places itself above and beyond the archetypical hip-hop book to truly scrutinize the socio-political environment that produced a masterpiece and wreaked havoc on a generation.

The Civil Rights Book Club seeks to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Study Shows Foreclosures in California Disproportionately Affecting Latinos, African Americans

Monday, August 30, 2010

Foreclosure rates for Latino and African-American borrowers in California are 2.3 and 1.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic White borrowers, according to a new study by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Housing & Lending

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Faith Leaders Celebrate MLK's Legacy and Make Renewed Call to Action for Civil and Human Rights

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Saturday, August 28, faith leaders and civil and human rights advocates will gather at Shiloh Baptist Church to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and commit themselves to renewed activism for social justice.

Read more >>

Categories: Promoting Diversity, Human Rights, Equal Opportunity, Immigration, Workers' Rights, Civil Rights History, Education

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Black Like Me'

Friday, August 20, 2010

John Howard Griffin's "Black Like Me", published in 1961, paints a gloomy picture of what it felt like to be marginalized, ostracized and persecuted because of one's skin color.  Griffin, a White man who darkened his skin color to appear Black, pursues his experiment – six weeks travelling on Greyhound buses and occasionally hitchhiking -- throughout the racially segregated Deep South. He knew that he would experience some persecution, but did not expect such blatant disrespect.

Life as a Black man cuts him deeper as he is profiled, marginalized, accosted, and excluded from all corners of mainstream society.  He sinks into loneliness and depression yet finds solace in the kindness and generosity several people offer along his journey

If you are at all a proponent to end racial profiling and discrimination, this is a great read for you.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Mexican-American Leader Mario Obledo Dies at 78

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mario Obledo, co-founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and president of the National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, has died. He was 78 years old.

Read more >>

Categories: Promoting Diversity, Civil Rights History

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Justice Department Clarifies State Courts’ Obligation to Provide Language Interpreters and Translators

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Department of Justice sent a letter to state courts on Monday clarifying the courts' obligation to provide language assistance to those who are not English proficient so that all people have fair access to the courts.

Read more >>

Categories: Promoting Diversity, Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Judiciary

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New Online Tool Tallies Senate Voting Records on Extending Unemployment Benefits

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Amid the worst recession in 30 years and an unemployment rate stuck at 9.5 percent, the Senate has voted 12 times to extend emergency unemployment benefits and allow eligible workers to collect up to 99 weeks of benefits instead of the usual 26 in most states. But a review of senators' voting record shows support for these extensions among moderates beginning to erode despite the clear need for them and the fact that unemployment benefits are considered one of the better tools for stimulating the economy during a recession.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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2010 Census Comes in under Budget, Bureau Thanks Census Partner Organizations

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau reported yesterday that it has returned $1.6 billion of the government funding it received for 2010 Census operations.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Civil Rights Groups: Money for Border Security Not Enough. Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Immigration experts, government officials, and civil rights leaders say that an enforcement-only strategy will not solve the U.S. immigration system's underlying problems, and they are urging Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil Rights Community Urges Senate to Move Judicial Nominations

Monday, August 9, 2010

With Elena Kagan confirmed to the Supreme Court, civil rights groups are frustrated that the Senate left for recess without confirming pending judicial nominees that had been held up unnecessarily.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Elena Kagan Confirmed to Be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Today, the Senate voted 63-37 to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Kagan, nominated by President Obama on May 10, will succeed Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in June after more than 34 years on the court.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'David Walker’s Appeal' by David Walker

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

David Walker was an American Black abolitionist born free in 1785 to an enslaved father and a free mother in North Carolina. He witnessed slavery up close, but from an outsider's perspective. His "Appeal" was first published in 1829 as a pamphlet denouncing slavery as the most oppressive institution in world history.

Walker's argument combines passionate anger with sarcastic humor. He questions what it means to be an American and insists that the same basic rights be granted to every citizen. Though it was originally published nearly two centuries ago, Walker's "Appeal" remains crucial to today's human rights discourse.

The Civil Rights Book Club seeks to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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New Law Will Make American Indian Communities Safer

Monday, August 2, 2010

Last week, President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act into law, significantly increasing the ability for tribal police to ensure the safety of their communities. The Act will enhance tribal law enforcement and improve the cooperation between tribes and the federal government in apprehending and prosecuting criminals.

Read more >>

Categories: Indigenous Peoples

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"Free Land" Tells Personal Story of Cherokee History, Homelessness

Monday, August 2, 2010

In her documentary film, Free Land, Minda Martin explores the impact her Cherokee ancestors have had on her family's nomadic life.

The film primarily focuses on her grandmother, Cordelia Taylor, who moved at least 43 times with her husband after the government-mandated Cherokee removal in 1830. Taylor was miserable when she first moved. The land where she grew up held deep traditions; all of her ancestors had been born, grown up, died, and been buried in the same place. "For my people," her voiceover simply states, "no one owned land." 

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending, Indigenous Peoples

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State Department Official Says U.S. Must Lead by Example on Human Rights

Friday, July 30, 2010

During a recent appearance in Washington, D.C., Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, discussed the Obama administration's approach to human rights and foreign policy, and he identified the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a priority.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights

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House Passes Bill to Create Commission to Study Crisis in the Criminal Justice System

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The House of Representatives passed by voice vote on Tuesday a bill that will create a bipartisan, national commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the U.S. criminal justice system and make recommendations for reform.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Local Government Job Losses Could Reach 500,000 While Legislation Stalls in Congress

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Local government job losses could reach 500,000, according to a new joint survey from the National League of Cities (NLC), United States Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Counties.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Census Telephone Assistance Line Closes July 30

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau is reminding the public that on Friday, July 30, it will discontinue its toll-free telephone assistance line. The bureau reports that more than 130,000 people have completed their 2010 Census questionnaire over the phone.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Judge Halts Sections of the Arizona Immigration Law (S.B. 1070)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction yesterday preventing Arizona from implementing sections of controversial immigration law S.B. 1070. The injunction will stand until the courts have the ability to review the case in its entirety.  Other parts of the law took effect today.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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House Could Consider Legislation This Week to Reduce Crack and Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

UPDATE 2: President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act on August 3, 2010.

UPDATE: The House of Representatives passed the Fair Sentencing Act by voice vote on July 28, 2010. Read The Leadership Conference statement on the vote.

Advocates are calling on the House of Representatives to pass the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 this week, which would reform a law that created a sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine. Under current law, a person with five grams of crack cocaine – the weight of two sugar packets – receives the same five-year mandatory minimum sentence as someone with 500 grams of cocaine, which is about a pound.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Report Finds Longer School Days Beneficial

Monday, July 26, 2010

A report released by Mathematica Policy Research finds that the extended learning time at Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools helps their students outperform their counterparts at other public schools.  Twenty-two KIPP middle schools were observed, including two in Washington, D.C.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Colorblind' by Tim Wise

Friday, July 23, 2010

In "Colorblind: The Rise of Post-racial Politics and the Retreat from Equity," anti-racist activist and scholar Tim Wise offers a refreshingly unconventional view on America's political discourse. Through a brilliantly constructed critique of post-racial politics, Wise sets out to dispel the myth of racial transcendence in post-Obama America, and emphasizes the continuing need for civil rights action in the 21st century.

Wise argues that the supposed "race neutral" politics of the post-Obama era ignore the realities of race in America, and most often serve to perpetuate the underlying racial disparities in our society. Drawing on a meticulously researched body of campaign examples, he posits that racism in our society has not simply shriveled up and retreated in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, but rather has transformed itself to fit a shifting social landscape. He asserts that a race-neutral mentality cannot hope to mend what is a fundamentally racial set of problems.

Whatever your age, background, or political orientation, "Colorblind's" brilliantly crafted prose and finely tuned arguments make it a must-read for anyone interested in racial politics in the modern era.

The Civil Rights Book Club seeks to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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White House Unveils Plan to End Homelessness

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Obama Administration has released an updated strategy to combat homelessness. Drafted by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), the plan -- "Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness" -- lays out timetables for ending chronic homelessness among veterans and families and sets a path to ending all types of homelessness. 

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Housing & Lending

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Report Shows Economic Benefits of Decreasing High School Dropout Rate

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reducing the number of high school dropouts by 50 percent can lead to tremendous economic benefits, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.

Drawing on data from the largest 45 metropolitan areas, the report reinforces the link between education and the economy. In these areas, 39 percent of high school students do not graduate on time with a standard diploma. However, if the national dropout rate were halved for just one graduating class in these areas, the new graduates could earn more than $4.1 billion in combined earnings, spend an additional $2.8 billion, and support up to 30,000 new jobs.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity, Education

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Student Activists Rally in Support of the DREAM Act

Thursday, July 22, 2010

 

Immigrant rights activists gathered at the Capitol this Tuesday to rally in support of the DREAM Act.

While protesters rallied outside the Hart Senate Office Building, 21 undocumented immigrant college students staged sit-ins at congressional offices in support of their right to an education. At the conclusion of the sit-ins, these students were arrested and turned over to federal immigration enforcement to face possible deportation proceedings.

The DREAM Act is bipartisan legislation that would provide a path to legal citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants – many of whom have lived in the United States nearly all their lives – provided that they earn a college degree or serve two years in the military. Civil and human rights groups strongly support this legislation as a common sense policy that promotes education, public service, and civic society for all.

For more resources on the DREAM Act and how you can get involved, visit dreamact.info.

Categories: Immigration, Education

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Unemployment Benefits Extension Overcomes Republican Opposition in Senate

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Senate voted tonight 59-39 to extend unemployment benefits for more than 2 million workers. The bill now moves to the House, where quick passage is expected.'

Update:  The House passed the bill on July 22, and it was signed by President Obama.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Enactment of Financial Reform Bill

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights welcomed President Obama's signing today of the financial reform bill. In a statement, Executive Vice President Nancy Zirkin said:

"When President Obama signed the financial reform bill into law today, he sent a resounding message that his administration will not tolerate the reckless Wall Street practices that cost millions of hard-working families their homes, their jobs, and their retirement savings. 

This is a major victory for American consumers. Now that the real regulatory work can begin, we turn to President Obama once more to appoint Elizabeth Warren as the head of the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB will help everyone, but especially Black and Latino families who have been purposely steered into taking subprime and predatory loans they could not afford, even when they qualified for better terms. The regulations it implements will have a great impact on consumer safety and provide a rational framework for more equitable economic growth.

The civil and human rights coalition strongly supports this historic law, and we look forward to seeing the difference it makes in Americans' lives."

The Leadership Conference joined with a broad coalition of organizations to ensure that final financial reform legislation included strong protections for consumers and effective regulation to hold Wall Street accountable.

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Civil Rights in the Supreme Court: Wrapping up the 2009-2010 Term

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

During its 2009-2010 term, which ended last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard several cases with civil rights implications.

Here are summaries of some of these cases:

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Kagan Nomination Heads to Full Senate for Vote

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted 13-6 to recommend the confirmation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"General Kagan's thoughtful approach to the law and her skills as a consensus builder will be a great benefit to the Supreme Court and our justice system," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The Leadership Conference supports General Kagan's nomination and is urging a swift confirmation.

Categories: Judiciary

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Congress Urged to Pass Improved Child Nutrition Program

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guest Post by Sophie Milam

This year, Congress is considering legislation that would strengthen several nutrition programs critical to the well-being of our nation's children. With one in four children struggling with hunger and one in three obese or overweight, reauthorizing the nation's two cornerstone child nutrition laws – the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act – collectively known as Child Nutrition Reauthorization could not come at a more critical time.

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care

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Panel Says Immigration Reform Must Include Path to Citizenship

Monday, July 19, 2010

Immigration experts, government officials, and civil rights leaders say that an enforcement-only strategy will not solve the U.S. immigration system's underlying problems.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Senate to Pass Unemployment Extension

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has sent a letter to U.S. senators urging them to support H.R. 5618, The Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010. With extended unemployment benefits having expired in June, some 2.5 million workers have had benefits cut off in the face of high unemployment and a weak job market. H.R. 5618 would extend the filing deadline for extended unemployment insurance benefits through Nov. 30, 2010.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Poll Finds Large Majority of Americans Want Federal Action on High School Reform

Friday, July 16, 2010

A national opinion poll released yesterday showed that the majority of voters believe the nation's public high schools are in urgent need of improvement that should be addressed when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation's primary federal education law, is reauthorized.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Senate Sends Financial Reform Legislation to President Obama

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sen. Barbara Boxer speaking at a press conference on financial reform

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D. Calif., speaking at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on financial reform.  May 17, 2010.

Today, the Senate voted 60-39 to give final congressional approval to a sweeping financial industry reform bill that will overhaul the regulatory structure for consumer and investment banking. The legislation is intended to curtail the reckless Wall Street practices that drove the economy to a near collapse in 2008 and upended the lives of millions of Americans.

The civil and human rights, consumer and labor advocates have been fighting for months to ensure that Congress approved a bill to establish the strongest possible regulations to protect Americans from abusive and discriminatory lending practices.  The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called the final bill, which was finalized three weeks ago, "a historic achievement."

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Nickel and Dimed' by Barbara Ehrenreich

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America," investigative journalist and best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich goes undercover to raise awareness about the hardships of poverty and the working poor in the United States. 

By working as a maid, waitress, house-cleaner, retail worker and nursing home-aid, Ehrenreich is able to examine the very real struggle of surviving on a working-class wage. Ehrenreich endures shockingly poor conditions and labor practices in her quest to reveal the truths of American poverty.

"Nickel and Dimed" paints a poignant picture of poverty in the United States by depicting the often unspoken realties for low-income Americans, making this a must read.

The Civil Rights Book Club seeks to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Civil Rights Leaders Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Banning Racial Profiling

Monday, July 12, 2010

Civil and human rights leaders recently testified before a House subcommittee about the continuing problem of racial profiling in America and urged lawmakers to pass legislation outlawing the practice.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights Book Club: ‘Moral Underground’ by Lisa Dodson

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In "Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy," Lisa Dodson, professor of sociology at Boston College, portrays a dimension of Americans that's seldom revealed. She interviews hundreds of supervisors, teachers and healthcare professionals over an eight year span, and discovers that many of them have bent or broken the rules to help those in need. 

Her argument is simple and convincing: We should not put compassionate Americans in the position of choosing between blindly following rules and helping those most in need.  She reveals compelling stories of people and how they confront these ethical dilemmas -- the restaurant manager who sneaks food to a poor worker's children, the nurse who decides to treat an uninsured child. Dodson provides a straightforward yet poignant description of people that have chosen to follow their moral instincts.

The Civil Rights Book Club seeks to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Civil Rights Groups Welcome Federal Lawsuit Challenging Arizona Anti-Immigration Law

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday to invalidate the controversial Arizona immigration law that gives local police the authority to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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President Obama Calls for Bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This morning, President Obama gave a major speech on the need to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that fixes the nation's broken system. The president called on Congress to put aside politics and pass a bipartisan bill.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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The Leadership Conference Hails House Passage of Final Financial Reform Legislation

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Last night, the House of Representatives passed 237-192 the final financial reform bill that emerged from the House-Senate conference committee last week. 

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Kagan Hearings Examine Supreme Court’s Corporate Camaraderie

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Civil and human rights advocates supporting Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court are paying close attention to the need for balance on a court that has been consistently favoring powerful corporate interests at the expense of everyday Americans.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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The Leadership Conference Responds to Senators' False Characterization of Justice Thurgood Marshall

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The civil rights community is speaking out against attempts by some senators to distort the legacy of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall during the confirmation hearings on Solicitor General Elena Kagan's nomination to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Civil Rights Division Addressing Impact of the Housing Crisis on Minority Communities

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is taking steps to strengthen enforcement and regulation in the aftermath of a housing crisis that has disproportionately affected minority communities.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Housing & Lending

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Remembering the Legacy of Civil Rights Legend William L. Taylor

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bill TaylorWilliam L. Taylor, legendary civil rights attorney and education advocate, died on June 28 of complications resulting from a recent fall.

Taylor was known for his tireless efforts to create a public education system that truly meets the needs of the nation's marginalized children. He successfully litigated a number of major public school desegregation cases in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Civil Rights and Consumer Advocates Applaud Strong Protections in Final Financial Reform Legislation

Friday, June 25, 2010

Civil rights and consumer advocates are hailing the final financial reform legislation that emerged today from the House-Senate conference committee.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Department of Labor Expands FMLA Coverage to Include Domestic Partners

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Department of Labor issued new regulations for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), expanding its coverage to include non-traditional families like same-sex partners who take care of their partner's children and relatives who may care for a niece or nephew or cousin.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Workers' Rights, Women's Rights

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Civil Rights Coalition Urges Senate to Extend Jobless Benefits

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Senate leadership is likely to try again this week to bring a bill to the floor that will extend unemployment insurance and COBRA benefits, after losing two procedural votes last week.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Groups Concerned about Rising Number of State Laws Targeting Immigrants

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

As Arizona's anti-immigration law continues to stir controversy, at least 22 other states have passed or are considering similar legislation aiming to aggressively target people suspected of being in the United States without documentation.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Troy Davis Gets His Day in Court

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tomorrow, a Savannah federal district court will hold an evidentiary hearing to decide if death row inmate Troy Davis will get a new trial.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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New Report Shows the Demographic Disparity of the Mortgage Crisis

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blacks and Latinos are facing greater risks of losing of their homes as the foreclosure crisis continues, according to new research by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Advocates Call for Anti-Drug Policies That Focus on Prevention

Friday, June 18, 2010

At a June 17 public policy forum on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, scholars and civil rights advocates urged lawmakers to treat drug use as more of a public health problem than a criminal justice issue.  

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Attorney General Holder Urges Students to Pursue Public Interest Law

Friday, June 18, 2010

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. spoke last night at the 18th Annual Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Lecture held at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC).

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, The Leadership Conference

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Documentary Explores Life of Legendary Civil Rights Lawyer William Kunstler

Friday, June 18, 2010

The PBS series "POV" will air "William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe" next week, a film that reviews Kunstler's life and work from the perspective of his daughters, Emily and Sarah.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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New Report Calls for Elimination of 'Prison-Based Gerrymandering'

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The explosion of the prison population in recent decades is enabling towns where the prisons are located to unjustly increase their political power by counting inmates as legal residents, according to "Captive Constituents," a new report by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF).

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System, Voting Rights

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New Report Shows How a Legal Loophole Limits Union Organizing at FedEx Express

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

As many as 100,000 workers who drive trucks and deliver packages for FedEx Express face unfair obstacles to organizing unions because the company has been misclassified under federal labor laws, according to a new report from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Advocates Ask Court to Block $1.08 Billion Cut in Funding for New Jersey Schools

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Education Law Center filed a motion last week on behalf of more than 300,000 New Jersey public school students asking the New Jersey Supreme Court to uphold and enforce its ruling supporting the school funding formula in the state's School Funding Reform Act (SFRA).

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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South Carolina Eliminates Crack/Powder Sentencing Disparity and Mandatory Minimums

Thursday, June 10, 2010

South Carolina has enacted a new law overhauling the state's drug sentencing policy, eliminating sentencing disparities between powder and crack cocaine and removing mandatory minimum sentences for first-time offenders.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Majority of Americans Support Extending Unemployment Benefits and Health Care Subsidies

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A new Hart Research Associates poll finds that 74 percent of Americans said that it is "too early" for Congress to cut back on unemployment insurance and COBRA subsidies.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Civil Rights Groups Say Implementation of New English and Math Standards for Students Is Key to Success

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently released the Common Core State Standards, which will determine what American students should learn in English and math each year from kindergarten through 12th grade. 

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Study Shows Complicated Picture of Asian-American Unemployment

Monday, June 7, 2010

A new study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that although Asian Americans have the lowest unemployment rate of the major racial groups, in reality, the picture of Asian-American unemployment is more complicated when examined by education level.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Civil Rights Coalition Calls For Strong Consumer Protections in Final Financial Reform Bill

Friday, June 4, 2010

Congress is nearing completion of its work reforming Wall Street.  The Leadership Conference and its allies in the Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) coalition are working to ensure that Congress includes strong protections for consumers and effective regulation to hold Wall Street accountable — and stave off future crises that can wreck the economy and upend the lives of millions of Americans, especially members of economically vulnerable communities.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Study Finds Jury Selection Process Tainted by Racial Discrimination in Southern States

Friday, June 4, 2010

According to a new study by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), African Americans are disproportionately excluded from jury service in the South, especially in criminal trials and death penalty cases. 

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Protesters Rally against Arizona’s Anti-Immigration Law in Washington D.C.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hundreds of people came to Washington, D.C., today to protest Arizona's anti-immigration law (S.B. 1070) and push Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

The rally was sponsored by America's Voice and supported by a number of other organizations, including SEIU and Catholics United.  Supporters, braving the summer heat, picketed in front of the White House where President Obama was meeting with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer about S.B. 1070.  They also heard speeches from several supporters who said that the law is putting the Arizona economy at risk.

S.B. 1070, signed by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, will make racial profiling the norm in Arizona by requiring law enforcement officers to stop, question, detain, and arrest anyone that they have a "reasonable suspicion" to believe is undocumented. The law has been widely denounced as extreme, unconstitutional, and fundamentally unfair and discriminatory.

Categories: Immigration

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Congress Fails to Extend Jobless Benefits before Cutoff

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Under pressure from Democrats concerned about the budget deficit, the House of Representatives passed a jobs bill on May 28 that did not include $24 billion in Medicaid aid to states or a $6.8 billion subsidy to help the unemployed maintain health insurance benefits under COBRA.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Supreme Court Restricts Miranda Rights

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In a 5-4 decision yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court dramatically reinterpreted its landmark Miranda decision by requiring criminal suspects to invoke their right to remain silent with a clear, explicit statement.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary, Criminal Justice System

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Congress Advances Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy

Friday, May 28, 2010

The United States is moving closer to repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT), a policy that requires lesbian and gay servicemembers to conceal their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 234-194 to allow the Department of Defense to repeal the policy after the completion of a Pentagon implementation study. The vote came just hours after the Senate Armed Service Committee approved similar legislation by a vote of 16-12.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Unemployed Workers and Advocates Push for Comprehensive Job Creation Bill

Thursday, May 27, 2010

With nearly 10 percent of American workers officially unemployed, civil and human rights groups recently joined with unemployed workers to push Congress to enact more aggressive legislation to end the jobs crisis and create opportunities for the future.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Women's Rights

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Civil and Human Rights Groups File Lawsuit, Plan March against Arizona's S.B. 1070

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Civil and human rights groups are working on multiple fronts to galvanize support for repealing Arizona's controversial anti-immigration law, S.B. 1070, before it goes into effect on July 28. 

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Unanimous Supreme Court Allows Firefighter Racial Discrimination Suit to Proceed

Monday, May 24, 2010

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held today that a group of African-American firefighters can sue the city of Chicago over a discriminatory hiring test, overturning a lower court decision that said that the firefighters filed their claim too late.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights, Judiciary

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Groups Urge Obama to Sign Executive Order on Strengthening U.S. Human Rights Commitments

Monday, May 24, 2010

Human and civil rights groups are calling on President Obama to issue an executive order that holds the United States accountable for its human rights commitments.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights

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34th Annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wade Henderson speaking at the dinner

Wade Henderson speaking at the dinner.  Photo Credit: Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks.  View more photos.

The Leadership Conference held its 34th annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner last week in the Hilton Washington's International Ballroom in Washington, D.C.

This year's dinner celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Leadership Conference and its commitment to leading the civil and human rights movement in the 21st century, as embodied by the recent decision to include the term "human rights" in its name.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Study Finds Major Rise in Wealth Disparity between African Americans and Whites

Friday, May 21, 2010

The value of assets held by White families has risen sharply compared to African-American families, leading to what researchers at Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) describe in a new report as a dramatic wealth gap.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Phyllis McClure 1938 – 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Phyllis McClure, a dedicated civil rights activist and staunch advocate for fulfilling the promise of Brown v. Board of Education, died on May 17 at her home in Washington. She was 72.

The following remembrance is from Ted Shaw, former president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where McClure worked for many years.

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Categories: Civil Rights History

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Congress to Vote Soon on "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Repeal

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Congress is expected to vote soon on legislation to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," a policy that requires LGBT servicemen and women to conceal their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Historic Senate Vote Moves Wall Street Reform One Step Closer

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tonight, in a historic vote, the Senate passed sweeping legislation to overhaul the nation's financial system.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Civil Rights Groups Concerned about Low Census Response Rates in Gulf Coast, Mississippi and Texas Regions

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

As the 2010 Census continues, civil rights advocates are hearing reports of significant problems affecting hard-to-count communities in the Gulf Coast, Mississippi, and Texas regions.

While the national participation rate for mailed-in census forms is 72 percent, it is only 64 percent in Louisiana, 67 percent in Mississippi, and 69 percent in Texas. In a letter to Rep. Lacy Clay, D. Mo., 30 local, regional, and national civil rights organizations, including The Leadership Conference, called on Congress to hold a field hearing aimed at addressing the below average census response rates in these areas.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Urges Congress to Extend Jobless Benefits through End of Year

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

With more than six million long-term unemployed workers facing the cutoff of vital benefits by June 2, The Leadership Conference and its more than 200 member organizations are urging Congress to pass an extension of jobless benefits through the end of the year.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Supreme Court Rules that Life Sentences without Parole for Juveniles Are Unconstitutional

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court held yesterday (6-3) that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment does not permit the imposition of a life sentence without the possibility of parole for juveniles who commit non-homicide offenses.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary, Criminal Justice System

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Americans Rally in Washington, D.C., for Financial Reform

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crowds of protesters converged on K Street in Washington, D.C., today in support of the Wall Street reform bill (S. 3217) pending in the Senate.  Protesters, ignoring a steady rain, heard speeches from a wide array of organizations, including National People's Action, SEIU, AFL-CIO, and Jobs with Justice.

The bill, likely to come to a vote this Friday, includes a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection that would protect American consumers from the types of irresponsible lending practices that contributed to the economic crisis. The bureau would include a civil rights office focused exclusively on fighting discriminatory lending, which is widely supported by the civil rights community.

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Federal Sentencing Guidelines Amended to Include Gender Identity

Friday, May 14, 2010

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently adopted changes to the federal sentencing guidelines to permit crimes in which the victim is intentionally selected on the basis of gender identity to be eligible for sentencing enhancements.

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA, LGBTQ Rights, Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights and Labor Leaders Urge DHS to End Arizona Immigration Enforcement Program

Friday, May 14, 2010

Arizona’s new anti-immigration law (S.B. 1070) would make the federal government complicit in racial profiling, unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rescinds agreements with Arizona law enforcement under an immigration training and enforcement program, according to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the AFL-CIO.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration, Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Goodwin Liu Nomination

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by a vote of 12-7 Goodwin Liu's nomination to be a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Jack Gross Takes His Age Discrimination Fight to Washington

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Still seeking justice after last year's Supreme Court ruling that limited the right to challenge age discrimination in the workplace, Jack Gross last week testified before members of Congress about the need to pass the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.

Read more >>

Categories: Seniors/Social Security, Judiciary

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Obama Nominates Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elena Kagan

President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan today to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court.  In her current role as solicitor general, Kagan is the primary lawyer representing the U.S. government – and therefore, the interests of the American people – before the Court.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner: Celebrating 60 Years of The Leadership Conference

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dr. Dorothy Height and Van Jones

Dr. Dorothy Height enjoys a laugh with Van Jones at the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award Dinner in May 2009.

Next week, hundreds of civil rights and human rights leaders, policymakers, and others will attend The Leadership Conference's Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner, held each year at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C.

The dinner is the civil rights community's biggest party, a chance to celebrate the year's accomplishments and recommit to working hard to address the challenges ahead.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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The Leadership Conference Joins Boycott against Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wade Henderson with civil and human rights leaders, announcing boycott

Leadership Conference President and CEO Wade Henderson with civil and human rights leaders announcing the boycott.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights joined the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and other organizations around the country today to announce a boycott of the state of Arizona in protest of the state's anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070.

The participating organizations have pledged to hold no conventions, conferences, special events, or major meetings involving significant travel to Arizona while S.B. 1070 is in effect.  The Leadership Conference has also pledged to urge its more than 200 member organizations to do the same.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Census Bureau Kicks Off Door-to-Door Phase of the National Head Count

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Though more than 70 percent of households mailed back their census form, the census is far from over.

On May 1, the Census Bureau launched the next phase of the national head count, called Non-Response Follow Up, during which census takers visit the roughly 30 percent of households that did not mail back their forms.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Advocates Call for Education Reforms that Meet the Full Range of Student Needs

Monday, May 3, 2010

In a hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, representatives from the Higher Achievement program and other education reform organizations highlighted programs that are critical to meeting the dynamic needs of students in public education.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Main Street Calls for Wall Street Reform

Friday, April 30, 2010

American rally for Wall Street reform in Kansas City

Americans in Kansas City, Iowa rally in support of financial reform.  April 27, 2010.  Photo Credit: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Though elected officials in Washington struggled to get Wall Street reform legislation to the Senate floor for debate, rallies across the country this week attracted tens of thousands of supporters for the bill.

A march through San Francisco's financial district drew thousands, and hundreds of people rallied outside of a Bank of America in Kansas City, Iowa.  An AFL-CIO and National People's Action rally in New York City, dubbed "Showdown on Wall Street," drew more than 10,000 people, with 16,000 more participating online.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Civil Rights Icon Dr. Dorothy I. Height Laid to Rest Today

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Funeral services for civil rights icon and Leadership Conference Chair Dr. Dorothy I. Height begin today at 10am. 

The Celebration of Life Services for Dr. Height will be held at the National Cathedral in Northwest Washington, D.C.  President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver the eulogy.  The services are open to the public and can be viewed online at C-SPAN.

Categories: Civil Rights History

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President Obama Delivers Eulogy for Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Height

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Civil Rights leader Dr. Dorothy I. Height

In a eulogy for civil rights leader Dr. Dorothy I. Height (1912 -2010) delivered at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., today, President Obama reflected on Dr. Height's legacy and spirit.

Dr. Height's life, Obama said, was "a life lived righteously; a life that lifted other lives; a life that changed this country for the better over the course of nearly one century here on Earth."

Speaking about Dr. Height's contributions to the struggles for justice and equality that have benefited so many, he said:

Progress came from the collective effort of multiple generations of Americans. From preachers and lawyers, and thinkers and doers, men and women like Dr. Height, who took it upon themselves -- often at great risk -- to change this country for the better. From men like W.E.B Du Bois and A. Philip Randolph; women like Mary McLeod Bethune and Betty Friedan -- they're Americans whose names we know.  They are leaders whose legacies we teach. They are giants who fill our history books. Well, Dr. Dorothy Height deserves a place in this pantheon.  She, too, deserves a place in our history books.  She, too, deserves a place of honor in America's memory.

Obama's full remarks are available here.

Dr. Height had been the Chair of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights for more than 15 years and was also a recipient of The Leadership Conference's 1993 Hubert H. Humphrey Award.

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Opponents of Equal Opportunity Admissions Denied Access to California Bar Association Data

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A state judge in California has ruled against two researchers' request to obtain data from the California Bar Association on the long-term success of law school graduates. Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow of California Superior Court for San Francisco County held that the state bar is not legally obligated to produce the information under state public record laws.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Civil Rights Division Ramping Up Enforcement on Employment, Housing, Voting Rights Cases

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thomas E. Perez, the head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, recently told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that he is expanding civil rights enforcement in the areas of employment, voting, and housing, and revamping the division's hiring process.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Advocates Call for Reforms of Juvenile Justice Law

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Juvenile justice advocates recently told the House Education and Labor Committee that reauthorization of the 1974 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) must close loopholes that have allowed some states to treat juvenile offenders like adults.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights Community Vows to Keep Fighting for Financial Reform after Opponents Block Senate Debate

Monday, April 26, 2010

Civil rights leaders vowed Monday evening to continue fighting for legislation that would reform the nation's financial system after GOP opponents of reform voted in lockstep to keep the Senate from debating the bill.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Education Experts Say Teacher Training and Support Are Key to Education Act Reauthorization

Monday, April 26, 2010

Education professionals testifying recently before the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions said that increased teacher training and support are essential elements to the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Spotlight on Humphrey Nominee: Harry Belafonte

Friday, April 23, 2010

Harry Belafonte

On May 12, legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte will receive the civil rights community's highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for his lifelong commitment to civil and human rights.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Henderson Condemns Arizona Anti-Immigration Bill as a "Catastrophe in the Making" and Urges Governor to Veto

Thursday, April 22, 2010

UPDATE 4/23 – Gov. Brewer signed the bill into law.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, joined with other national civil rights leaders today to condemn Arizona's anti-immigration bill and urge Gov. Jan Brewer to veto it.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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More Than 300 Organizations Sign Letter to Congress in Support of the 'Local Jobs for America Act'

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Half in Ten Campaign, which includes The Leadership Conference, has sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives calling for them to support the Local Jobs for America Act. This important bill — sponsored by Rep. George Miller, D. Cal. — aims to create more than one million jobs over the next two years and provide critical funding to state and local governments, small businesses, and community organizations.

"We applaud Chairman Miller's leadership on this bill," said Melissa Boteach, Half in Ten's campaign manager. "Already over 300 organizations from 43 states, including labor unions, faith institutions, civil rights organizations, service providers, and the U.S. conference of mayors, have joined Half in Ten in expressing support for this bill. We look forward to working with these groups to continue building momentum to pass the Local Jobs for America Act."

Read the letter.

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Civil Rights Legend Dr. Dorothy I. Height Dies at 98

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dr. Dorothy I. Height

Dr. Dorothy I. Height, a civil rights legend whose pioneering fight for civil and human rights spanned more than seven decades, passed away this morning from natural causes.  She had recently turned 98 on March 24.

Dr. Height was one of the most prominent women among the civil and human rights leadership in the 1960s, and she was a trusted advisor to many leaders, including Eleanor Roosevelt, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and President Barack Obama.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Coppin State University Establishes Social Work Research Center in Dr. Dorothy Height’s Name

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coppin State University Development Foundation, Inc., and Dr. & Mrs. Reginal S. Avery will hold an event this Sunday, April 25, to honor civil and human rights icon Dr. Dorothy I. Height.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Six Goals That Financial Reform Must Accomplish

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Leadership Conference is working with a broad coalition of organizations to ensure that financial reform legislation now under consideration in Congress includes strong protections for consumers and effective regulation to hold Wall Street accountable — and stave off future crises that can wreck the economy and upend the lives of millions of Americans, especially members of economically vulnerable communities.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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National Broadband Plan Vital to Closing Digital Divide, FCC Tells Senate Committee

Monday, April 19, 2010

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing last week, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski testified that the FCC's recently unveiled National Broadband Plan is critical to bridging the digital divide that disproportionately affects rural communities, low-income families, minorities, seniors, tribal communities, and Americans with disabilities.

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Spotlight on Humphrey Nominee: Gara LaMarche

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gara LaMarche

On May 12, the civil rights community will honor Gara LaMarche, president and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award.  He will be honored for having charted a course for the philanthropic community to address social and economic justice here in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Civil Rights Advocates Say Arizona Anti-Immigration Bill Mandates Racial Profiling

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a bill that civil rights advocates say would infringe upon the rights of thousands of immigrants, both legal and undocumented. The bill would permit identity checks on residents if Arizona law enforcement officers have "reasonable suspicion" they are undocumented immigrants.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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The Leadership Conference Honors the Legacy of Civil Rights Icon, Dr. Benjamin Hooks

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dr. Benjamin Hooks, former head of the NAACP and former chair of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, passed away this morning at the age of 85.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Half in Ten Briefing Spotlights Solutions to Fight Poverty in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Communities

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fighting poverty requires solutions targeted to the unique features of different types of communities, according to anti-poverty experts convened by the Half in Ten campaign for a recent briefing on Capitol Hill.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil Rights Link Roundup: Death Penalty, Jobs Bill, and Foreclosure Central

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here are a few interesting civil rights related items:

Categories: Link Roundup

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National Survey Shows Majority of Americans Favor Financial Reform

Monday, April 12, 2010

A majority of Americans (59 percent) believe that the President and Congress need to reform the financial sector now, according to a new poll by the Pew Financial Reform Project.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to Retire in June

Friday, April 9, 2010

Justice John Paul Stevens

Justice John Paul Stevens announced today that he will retire in June at the end of the U.S. Supreme Court's current term.

Stevens, who will turn 90 this month, is the currently the court's oldest and longest-serving member.  He was nominated by President Gerald Ford to succeed Justice William O. Douglas in 1975, after serving five years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Leadership Conference Statement on Montcoal Mine Explosion

Friday, April 9, 2010

On Monday, April 5, a methane explosion took place at the Upper Big Branch South mine near Montcoal, West Virginia.  Twenty-five miners are known to have lost their lives, at least two were injured, and four more are still unaccounted for.  The Leadership Conference extends its sincere condolences to the families, friends, and co-workers of these miners and to all of those in the larger community who have been touched by this terrible tragedy. 

We also wish to acknowledge and praise, those who at great personal risk, are participating in the heroic rescue efforts.  It is appropriate at this time of sorrow, for the nation to pause and acknowledge the important contribution that coal miners make to the quality of life for all Americans.

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Sen. Patrick Leahy

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sen. Patrick Leahy

On May 12, the civil rights community will honor Sen. Patrick Leahy, D. VT, with its highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for a long record of advocacy for social and economic justice.

Sen. Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  First elected to the Senate in 1974, he is the third most senior Democratic senator.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Leadership Conference Statement on the D.C. Public Schools and the Washington Teachers Union Labor Agreement

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"The Leadership Conference applauds the tentative labor agreement reached this week between the D.C. Public Schools and the Washington Teachers Union after two years of negotiation and the mediation of Howard Law School Dean Kurt Schmoke.

As the nation's premier civil and human rights coalition, The Leadership Conference believes that quality education is a civil right for every child. This agreement demonstrates the mutual desire of teachers and school administrators to work together to make that right a reality for the District's children. It also recognizes that quality teaching is the most important factor in providing a quality education and provides the District's teachers, who often work under challenging conditions, with the tools and support they need to succeed.

Once this agreement is ratified, it will be up to everyone – administrators, teachers, parents, community leaders and the elected and appointed leaders of the District – to build an environment where teaching and learning are valued, and where children develop the skills and knowledge they will need to enter college and the 21st century workforce.  If well implemented, this agreement and the D.C. Public Schools can serve as examples for the nation on how to work collaboratively to ensure a quality education for all children."

+Washington Post editorial on the agreement

Categories: Education

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New Campaign Works to Ensure Older Adults Receive the Best Health Care Possible

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Today, the National Partnership for Women and Families, National Health Law Program (NHeLP), and Community Catalyst, launched the Campaign for Better Care to ensure that health reform works for older adults with multiple health problems. 

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care, Seniors/Social Security

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WPA Anniversary Demonstrates How a National Jobs Programs Could Help Now

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Work Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal jobs program created in 1935 that directly created millions of jobs and provided essential income for the unemployed workers and their families during the Great Depression.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Census Bureau Launches Campaign to Fight Fraud, Assure Confidentiality

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Census Bureau has released several videos in a campaign to reassure Americans that census information is confidential and to educate the public about avoiding possible fraud.   

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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NCAI Announces Winners of Census Art Competition

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) congratulated 15 Native American artists last week on winning the Indian Country Counts national art competition

Read more >>

Categories: Census, Indigenous Peoples

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Report Finds Use of Local Authorities for Immigration Enforcement Not Working

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A controversial U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency program that deputizes local authorities to act as federal immigration officials is not working, according to a new Office of Inspector General (IG) report.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Spotlight on Humphrey Honoree: Karen K. Narasaki

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Karen K. Narasaki

On May 12, Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), will receive the civil rights community's highest honor, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award, for dedicating her life to ensuring equal opportunity for all people and working diligently against all forms of discrimination.

An expert on immigrant rights, voting rights, affirmative action, and civil rights issues, Narasaki is a leader in advocating for the rights and interests of Asian Americans.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Online Tools Track Census Participation, Estimate Funding at Stake

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The 2010 Census is under way and the Census Bureau has reported an approximate 52 percent national participation rate.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Online Tools Track Census Participation, Estimate Funding at Stake

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The 2010 Census is under way and the Census Bureau has reported an approximate 52 percent national participation rate.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Report Documents Long-Term Unemployment in African-American Communities

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A new congressional report by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), "Long Term Unemployment in the African American Community," shows that African-American communities have been among the hardest hit during the recession.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Improve Census Bureau for 2020 Count

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

House and Senate lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation to address serious structural problems that they say have plagued the Census Bureau for four decades.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Congress Urged to Allow Former Inmates to Vote in Federal Elections

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, recently testified before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties and urged Congress to pass the Democracy Restoration Act.  

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System, Voting Rights

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Executive Order Helps Historically Black Colleges and Universities Hit by Recession

Friday, March 26, 2010

President Obama has signed an executive order that will provide $850 million in funding over ten years to the nation's 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs).

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Having Our Say' by Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

Friday, March 26, 2010

In "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters First 100 Years," reporter Amy Hill Hearth interviews two African-American sisters, Sadie and Bessie Delany, who are both more than 100 years old.  The Delaney sisters share the stories of their lives as they witness major changes in the United States over the course of the 20th century, including the aftermath of Reconstruction, the implementation of Jim Crow in the South, and the Civil Rights Movement.

A feisty duo, Sadie and Bessie speak candidly about everything from escaping racism in the South, to life in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, to their experiences with sexism and feminism. Through alternating chapters the reader feels as though he or she is listening in on a conversation between the two sisters. Their discussions of race relations and other issues are interwoven into their humorous stories, and reflect personalities that are larger than life.

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Education Fund by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Senate Passes FAA Bill without FedEx Labor Fix

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Senate passed the $34.5 billion Federal Aviation and Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act this week without a provision that would provide FedEx Express drivers and other ground employees with greater ability to form unions and protect their rights as workers.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Leahy, Narasaki, LaMarche and Belafonte to Receive the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Leadership Conference will honor Sen. Patrick Leahy, Karen Narasaki, Gara LaMarche, and Harry Belafonte at the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner to be held on May 12 in Washington, D.C.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Poverty Reduction Is Key to Improving the Economy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Half in Ten, a campaign seeking to cut poverty in half over the next ten years, is holding a series of briefings to highlight the connection between reducing poverty and growing the economy.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil Rights Legend, Dorothy Height Celebrates 98th Birthday

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dr. Dorothy Height and Van Jones enjoy a laugh

Dr. Dorothy Height enjoys a laugh with Van Jones at the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award Dinner in May 2009.

Lifelong civil and human rights activist Dr. Dorothy I. Height celebrates her 98th birthday today.

Dr. Height is known primarily for her decades of work with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), an international organization that advocates for women of African descent and promotes family and community with its annual Black Family Reunion celebration. But she has served in a variety of capacities during the Civil Rights Movement, and was often the most prominent woman among the leadership of the movement.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Eight Steps to Narrow the Achievement Gap in American Schools

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Michael Wotorson, executive director of the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), recently testified before the House Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee to encourage Congress take proactive steps to narrow the achievement gap for students of color in America.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Thousands Rally to Urge Congress, Obama Administration to Fix Broken Immigration System

Monday, March 22, 2010

On Sunday, thousands people from across the country attended a march and rally in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress and the White House to push ahead with legislation to fix the nation's broken immigration system.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Advocates Call for Stronger Action to Curb Housing Discrimination

Friday, March 19, 2010

The House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties recently held a hearing on the state of housing discrimination, and the effectiveness of our government's enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. 

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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President Obama Signs Jobs Bill; Groups Call for More Comprehensive Legislation

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today, President Obama signed a jobs bill into law.

Many experts believe the $18 billion bill, which includes tax breaks for small businesses, will have limited effect on the nation's unemployment and underemployment rates, but nonetheless think it's an important first step toward more federal action to address the jobs crisis.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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National Broadband Plan Aims to Close Digital Divide

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week released its anticipated National Broadband plan, which aims to bring access to high-speed-internet to 100 million homes by 2020.

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Financial Reform Legislation Introduced in Senate

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yesterday, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D. CT, introduced legislation to reform the nation's financial system.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Research on Childhood Obesity Highlights Need for Prevention

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New research released in the most recent issue of the medical journal, "Pediatrics," suggests that minorities may be disproportionately likely to become obese.

Read more >>

Categories: Health Care

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Utah Legislature Rejects Bid to Put Anti-Equal Opportunity Measure on 2010 Ballot

Friday, March 12, 2010

Last night, the Utah House of Representatives adjourned for the year without voting on HJR 24, a resolution to place an anti-equal opportunity measure on the state's 2010 ballot.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Blood Done Sign My Name' by Timothy B. Tyson

Friday, March 12, 2010

Blood Done Sign My Name" is a well-researched historical account of the 1970 murder of Henry Marrow, a black Vietnam vet, by three White men.  It is also an emotionally charged autobiography of author Timothy Tyson as it intertwines Tyson's coming-of-age experiences and commentary with the story of the hate crime that widened the racial chasm in the town of Oxford, North Carolina.

Amidst the fear, anger, hate, and confusion of the Jim Crow South, "Blood" tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement from Tyson’s perspective as a Southern White man.  Tyson's spirited journey to break the "white veil of silence" as well as to penetrate the social "race line" in Oxford delivers a classic portrait of American history in an unforgettable time.

Read more >>

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Obama Administration Urges Congress to Reauthorize Federal Education Law

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the main education law that provides federal assistance to the nation’s public schools, is a critical piece of the Obama administration's agenda.

Read more >>

Categories: Education

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Groups Outline Bold Vision for FCC National Broadband Plan

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A coalition of public interest and consumer groups is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase access to broadband internet in underserved communities.

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Census Bureau Launches Children Count Too Campaign with Dora the Explorer

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, the Census Bureau launched a campaign, "Children Count Too," highlighting the importance of counting infants and young children in the 2010 census.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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TANF Reauthorization Would Help Low-Income People Gain Long-Term Employment

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women's groups, including 9to5, the American Association of University Women, and Legal Momentum, are calling on Congress to reauthorize and reform the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to provide low-income women and families struggling to meet basic needs with adequate assistance and educational opportunities that lead to long-term employment. 

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil Rights Groups Applaud Department of Education's Renewed Commitment to Civil Rights Enforcement

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Department of Education this week announced plans to step up its enforcement of federal civil rights laws that require states and school districts to provide equal educational opportunity to all American children, regardless of race, gender, or disability. Listen to Leadership Conference President and CEO Wade Henderson in a discussion of the Education Department's new civil rights enforcement policy.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Education

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Half the Sky' by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Friday, March 5, 2010

In "Half the Sky," Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn paint a graphic picture of one of the most glaring moral issues of our time – the denial of human rights to women.  Kristof and WuDunn guide the reader through dismal life stories of victims of sex trafficking, poverty, and abuse, and then show how worldwide women's liberation and empowerment can be our greatest tools in the fight against injustice. 

"Half the Sky" is an impassioned call for women's human rights, as well as a practical guide for the modern global citizen who wants to answer the call. 

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Justice Department Confirms Confidentiality of Census Information

Friday, March 5, 2010

Responding to concerns raised by members of Congress and civil rights advocates — including The Leadership Conference — the Justice Department confirmed this week that information collected by the Census Bureau in the 2010 population count will remain confidential and is not subject to sharing or disclosure under the Patriot Act.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Dawn Johnsen Nomination

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved by a vote of 12-7 Dawn Johnsen's nomination to head the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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SNL's Ex-Presidents Visit President Obama, Urge Need for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Thursday, March 4, 2010

There's nothing really funny about the ways big banks and financial institutions have been wreaking havoc on consumers in the United States.

But what is funny is a new video from Funnyordie.com, featuring former presidents Bush Sr., Bush Jr., Clinton, Reagan, Carter and Ford visiting President Barack Obama to urge him to take on the banks and create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to protect Americans from abusive lending practices like the ones that led to the current recession

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Census Bureau Develops a More Accurate Poverty Measure

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Census Bureau announced yesterday that it will be developing a supplementary poverty measure that will provide a fuller, more accurate picture of economic trends and poverty in the United States.  The new measure will be released in the fall of 2011.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Senate Inaction Causes 200,000 to Lose Unemployment Benefits This Week

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

UPDATE 3/3: Late last night, the Senate passed 78-19 a 30-day extension of unemployment insurance and COBRA.

Two hundred thousand jobless workers will lose their unemployment benefits this week as a result of the Senate's failure to extend unemployment insurance and COBRA last week, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Study: Foreign Militaries Experience "No Negative Impact" with Swift Integration of Openly Gay Soldiers

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

UPDATE:  On March 3, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I. CT, introduced a bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

A new study released by the Palm Center, a research group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, finds that foreign militaries that have made the transition to allowing openly gay service members did so successfully by implementing the new policies swiftly and with decisive leadership.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Senate Must Create Strong and Independent Consumer Financial Reform Agency

Monday, March 1, 2010

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), a broad coalition of civil rights and consumer advocates that includes The Leadership Conference, is calling a new proposal to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency too weak to adequately protect Americans from abusive lending practices like the ones that led to the current recession.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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30 Days Out from 2010 Census: Civil Rights Community Calls for Full Participation

Monday, March 1, 2010

Today marks 30 days from the start of the 2010 census.  And civil and human rights organizations are stepping up their work in hard-to-count communities – immigrant communities, low-income people, young children, and people of color – to ensure that people understand and participate in the census.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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African-American Farmers Settle Discrimination Suit with USDA

Friday, February 26, 2010

African-American farmers who experienced discrimination by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) may finally receive compensation. 

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Housing & Lending

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Victory on Equal Opportunity in Missouri

Friday, February 26, 2010

Civil rights advocates in Missouri have successfully kept a proposed ballot initiative that would have amended the state's constitution to eliminate equal opportunity programs in higher education, employment, and contracting off the 2010 ballot.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Resolved: March Is Census Awareness Month

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

As the Census Bureau gears up to conduct the 2010 census, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D. Texas, has introduced a resolution that designates March 2010 as Census Awareness Month to encourage all people in the United States to participate so that the decennial count is fair and accurate.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Companies Seek to Circumvent New Credit Card Reforms

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Credit card companies have responded to the passage of the Credit CARD Act by creating new ways to get around the law and exploit consumers.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Civil Rights Coalition Urges Immediate Extension of Unemployment Insurance and COBRA Benefits

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Leadership Conference is urging the Senate to immediately extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and COBRA subsidies through the end of 2010. The current extension expires at the end of February.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Child of the Civil Rights Movement' by Paula Young Shelton

Monday, February 22, 2010

In "Child of the Civil Rights Movement," Paula Young Shelton tells the story of the civil rights movement as she experienced it as a four-year old girl.  Shelton's father, Andrew Young, was the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and one of the major architects of protests for civil rights in Birmingham and Selma.

In the book, Shelton's family moves back down south to join the fight for civil rights.  She witnesses many of the strategy sessions, which include Dr. Martin Luther King, Ralph Abernathy, and Dorothy Cotton, and others, because they happened in the homes, around the dinner table, of the leaders.  What emerges is a rare look inside the inner workings of the civil rights movement and a rare portrait of the familial bond shared by civil rights leaders.

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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NAACP Names New Chairwoman: Roslyn Brock

Monday, February 22, 2010

The NAACP recently announced the election of Roslyn M. Brock as its new chairwoman of the National Board of Directors. Brock will succeed retiring civil rights activist, Julian Bond, who served as chairman for more than a decade.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Civil Rights and Progressive Organizations Call for Comprehensive Jobs Bill

Friday, February 19, 2010

A broad cross-section of the civil rights and progressive community, including The Leadership Conference, is calling on Congress to enact a jobs bill that will rescue millions of struggling Americans from job loss and foreclosure.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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New Credit Card Rules Go into Effect Next Week

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beginning Monday, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act will go into effect, reforming the rules regarding credit cards and interest rates for millions of Americans. The goal of the new regulations is to protect consumers from abusive and exploitative practices by credit card companies.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Library of Congress Celebrates NAACP Centennial

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Library of Congress is celebrating Black History Month by honoring the NAACP with a new online exhibition.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Video: What the Federal Government Must Do to Tackle Unemployment

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last week, the Jobs for America Now coalition, which includes The Leadership Conference, hosted an informative webinar examining the dire effects of the U.S. jobs crisis and the steps that must be taken to enable Americans to get back to work.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Honoring Civil Rights Leader Beth Shulman

Monday, February 8, 2010

Civil rights and labor leader Beth Shulman died from complications with pneumonia on Friday, February 5. 

Read more >>

Categories: Women's Rights, Civil Rights History

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Senate Goes to Work on Nominations

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Senate moved key nominations yesterday, the first of the new year.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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High School Athletics Accountability Act Could Encourage Gender Equality in High Schools

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D. N.Y., and Sen. Olympia Snowe, D. Maine, have introduced the High School Athletics Accountability Act of 2009, which would significantly increase the effectiveness of Title IX protection in high school athletic departments.  

Read more >>

Categories: Women's Rights

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Celebrate Rosa Parks’ 97th Birth Anniversary Today

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ninety-seven years ago today, civil rights icon Rosa Parks was born in rural Tuskegee, Alabama.

Born Rosa Louise McCauley, this remarkable woman is remembered as the "mother of the modern day civil rights movement." Most famously, she gained national attention in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a White male on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. With little more than a high-school education, Rosa Parks inspired a generation of activists to fight legal segregation in the United States.

Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005. Today, we celebrate her legacy as a courageous leader and inspiring civil and human rights activist.

Categories: Civil Rights History

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'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy to Change by 2011

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, announced yesterday the creation of a working group within the Department of Defense that will evaluate how to implement a full repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the law that requires LGBT servicemen and women to keep their sexual orientation a secret or face discharge.

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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SCOTUSblog Launches Series on 'Race and the Supreme Court' for Black History Month

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In honor of Black History Month, SCOTUSblog, a blog that covers the U.S. Supreme Court, will run a series of articles throughout February focusing on the impact that the Supreme Court has had on race, in the law and in American society.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Anniversary of Greensboro Sit-Ins Highlights Continued Fight for Civil and Human Rights

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fifty years ago today, four students from all-black North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, N.C., walked into a Woolworth five-and-dime with the intention of ordering lunch even though there was a strict whites-only policy at the lunch counter.

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights History

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New Census Mapping Tool Helps Identify Hard-To-Count Populations

Friday, January 29, 2010

A new web-based mapping site will enable nonprofit organizations and state and local governments to use interactive tools designed to help increase the count among historically hard-to-count populations in the 2010 census. The Census 2010 Hard-To-Count Interactive Map [www.CensusHardToCountMaps.org] — which utilizes Google Maps© technology — was developed as part of a collaboration between academia, business, nonprofits, and the philanthropic community. The project was led by the Center for Urban Research (CUR) Mapping Service (www.urbanresearch.org) at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY).

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Report Finds Record Support for Pro-LGBT Legislation in 2009

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A report released this week by The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) found that there were as many pro-LGBT bills passed nationwide in 2009 as there were in 2007 and 2008 combined. 

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Advocates Rally in D.C., Call for Health Care Reform Now

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

 

At a rally yesterday, an energetic group of about 250 activists, workers, and students, gathered in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to send a message to Congress that it should pass health care reform legislation and extend coverage to all Americans.

Former House Whip David Bonior, D. Mich., spoke at the rally, urging Congress to "spine-up" and reform a health care system in which 47 million Americans are uninsured, and 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance provider every day.

Representatives from a number of unions and civil rights groups, including the Health Care for America Now coalition, MoveOn.org, NAACP, Common Cause, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and the Service Employees International Union, also spoke at the rally.

Categories: Health Care

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Greater Census Participation Hinges on Awareness and Knowledge

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A recent Pew poll on attitudes toward the upcoming census revealed that nine in 10 Americans considered the decennial count as either "very" (60 percent) or "somewhat" (30 percent) important. But the poll also found that, even though respondents rated the census as highly important, this did not necessarily mean that there would be greater participation.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Deaths of Immigrants in U.S. Custody Expose Need for Reform

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The New York Times and the ACLU recently obtained documents proving that government officials systematically covered up malicious abuse that contributed to the deaths of 107 immigration detainees being held in federal custody since late 2003.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Alaska Native to Be First Counted in 2010 Census

Monday, January 25, 2010

The 2010 census officially launched today at an event in the remote Inupiat Eskimo village of Noorvik, Alaska, where the first person to be officially counted will be the village's oldest resident.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Obama Administration Calls for Tougher Wall Street Rules

Friday, January 22, 2010

President Obama appears to be ramping up his efforts to make substantial reforms to the financial industry largely responsible for the current economic crisis.

Large banks had to be bailed out by the federal government following the collapse of the economy in the fall of 2008 – a move that was very unpopular.  In response to widespread anger at the bailouts, exacerbated by the lavish bonuses that bailed-out banks are paying their employees, Obama announced yesterday that he wanted to limit how big banks can get to prevent them from becoming "too big to fail."

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to Create Commission to Study Criminal Justice System

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill with substantial bipartisan support yesterday to establish a national commission that will undertake a comprehensive review and recommend key reforms to all areas of the criminal justice system. 

The commission's mandate under the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010 is to recommend ways to reduce incarceration rates, reform our nation's drug laws, identify meaningful prisoner re-entry programs, contain costs, improve treatment for the mentally ill, and restore public confidence in the system.  After 18 months the 14-member commission would be required to submit its conclusions and recommendations to Congress and the president.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Congress Must Act Now to Extend Unemployment, COBRA Benefits

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A deadline for Congress to renew an extension of benefits for the unemployed is fast approaching.  The current program – which provides federal funds to states for extended unemployment benefits and a subsidy that pays for 65 percent of workers' health insurance under COBRA – is scheduled to expire on February 28.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Department of Justice Creates Fair Lending Unit to Fight Discrimination

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Responding to the severe housing and credit crisis in the United States, Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez recently announced the creation of a fair lending unit within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.  Perez, who leads the division, identified "lending discrimination" as particularly destructive, stating that "it's discrimination with a smile, and it tears communities apart." 

Read more >>

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies, Housing & Lending

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Remarks at the 26th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Breakfast

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The doors of opportunity are opening wide for extraordinary achievements by extraordinary individuals. But, when we examine how entire segments of society are faring, the picture isn't so pretty. The inequalities in wages and wealth, education and employment, housing and health care are almost as wide as when Dr. King devoted the last year of his life to the fight for economic justice.

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Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Mic Check Radio Honors Dr. King with Podcast on Eradicating Poverty

Monday, January 18, 2010

Today, the nation celebrates and honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mic Check Radio, a radio project produced by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, is running a special MLK Day podcast today, highlighting King's impact on current efforts to eradicate poverty, eliminate racial disparities, and create living-wage jobs for low-income and minority communities.

Listen to the podcast or download it for listening on your mp3 player. 

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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U.S. Grants Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Immigrants

Friday, January 15, 2010

Today, the Obama administration granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to undocumented Haitian immigrants living in the United States for the next 18 months.

TPS is a kind of temporary immigration status that is put in place when the homeland of immigrants are deemed unsafe or dangerous, often due to war or natural disasters like the earthquake that devastated Haiti.  It gives immigrants of that country greater ability to work in the United States and travel back and forth between the U.S. and their home country.

Categories: Immigration

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Minority Unemployment Rates to Hit Record High This Year

Friday, January 15, 2010

The unemployment rate for African Americans is set to soar to a 25-year high of 17.2 percent by the third quarter of this year, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute. The rate for Latinos is also expected to hit a record high of 13.9 percent this year.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Major Settlement Will Ensure That People with Disabilities Have Access to Housing

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In a landmark settlement announced this week, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and its member organizations reached an agreement with A.G. Spanos Companies to increase housing accessibility for people with disabilities.  It is the largest fair housing settlement relating to people with disabilities to date, according to NFHA.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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African-American and Mexican-American Admissions to Law Schools Declining

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Despite their rising LSAT scores and undergraduate grade point averages between 1993 and 2008, the number of African-American and Mexican-American students admitted to law schools for the same period decreased, according to a new study by Columbia University.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity

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Job Creation Must Target Communities of Color Hit Hardest by the Recession

Friday, January 8, 2010

In response to the latest unemployment figures from the Department of Labor, a coalition of civil rights groups, including the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, and the NAACP, are calling on Congress to target job creation to communities hit hardest by the economic recession.

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Study Finds Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Boost U.S. Economy and Wages

Friday, January 8, 2010

Enactment of comprehensive immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy, generating an additional $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) over 10 years and raising wages for both immigrant and native-born workers, according to a new study by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Council.

The study, "Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform," examined the economic effects of three scenarios: 1) comprehensive immigration reform that creates a pathway to legal status for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and establishes flexible limits on permanent and temporary immigration to respond to U.S. labor demand, 2) a program for temporary workers that excludes a pathway to legal status and flexible immigration limits, and 3) mass deportation of all unauthorized immigrants.

The study found that comprehensive immigration reform would create the greatest benefits to the U.S. economy and to workers. Along with raising GDP and wages for immigrant and native-born workers, in the first three years comprehensive reform would also generate up to $5.4 billion in additional tax revenue and increase consumer spending to support nearly 900,000 new jobs.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Civil Rights Groups Raise Concerns about Final Health Care Bill

Thursday, January 7, 2010

As the House and Senate begin final negotiations on health care reform legislation, a coalition of civil rights groups has sent a letter (PDF) to congressional leaders and President Obama urging them to support changes in the final bill that will ensure affordable, quality health care for all American families.

The letter — signed by leaders of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the Campaign for Community Change, the United States Student Association, and Powerpac.org — states that:

"We are deeply concerned about several aspects of the current Senate bill and therefore, the final outcome of health reform policy, including the taxing of health benefits, a lack of shared responsibility to ensure employers are contributing to their workers' health insurance, and the absence of a public option to keep insurance companies honest and keep insurance costs down."

Full text of the letter is available here (PDF).

Categories: Health Care

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Amanda Simpson: First Ever Transgender Presidential Appointee

Monday, January 4, 2010

Amanda Simpson

President Obama recently appointed Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman, to be the senior technical adviser to the Department of Commerce.

Simpson the first ever transgender presidential appointee – will serve in the department's Bureau of Industry and Security. The federal agency enforces sanctions and embargoes on various goods and regulates the export of sensitive technologies, such as software and machinery. Since 9/11, the bureau has made restricting the export of technologies that could be potentially used to create weapons of mass destruction a top priority.

With 30 years of experience working in the aerospace and defense industries, most recently serving as deputy director in advanced technology development at Raytheon Missile Systems, Simpson is exceptionally qualified for the position. 

A dedicated civil rights activist, Simpson played a major role in getting Raytheon to include gender identity as part of its equal employment opportunity policy in 2005.  She sits on the board of two national organizations, Out & Equal and the National Center for Transgender Equality, a social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people and a member of The Leadership Conference.

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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Civil Rights Community Mourns the Loss of Percy Sutton

Monday, December 28, 2009

New York Mayor John V. Lindsay stands with Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton and family.

 New York Mayor John V. Lindsay stands with Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton and family. (Photograph from New York Department of Records)

Percy Sutton, a prominent civil rights lawyer, politician, and successful businessman, died this past weekend. He was 89.

Read more >>

Categories: Promoting Diversity, Civil Rights History

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Minority-Owned Businesses Not Getting Economic Recovery Loans

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recent data analyzed by New America Media show that Small Business Administration loans made to struggling businesses as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are not going to minority-owned businesses.

The America's Recovery Capital (ARC) Loan Program provides loans of up to $35,000 to help small businesses make it through the recession. Of the nearly 4,500 loans handed out this year, 3 percent went to Hispanic-owned businesses, 3 percent went to Asian- or Pacific Islander-owned businesses, and only 1.5 percent went to Black-owned businesses.

More than 91 percent of these loans went to White-owned businesses.

Read more >>

Categories: Equal Opportunity, Housing & Lending

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Far Reaching Immigration Bill Introduced in the House

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D. Ill., introduced a bill last week to reform the nation's broken immigration system. The legislation includes provisions that would provide undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and establish a commission to determine the future flow of workers into the United States.

"Our nation's immigration policies should be pro-family, pro-job and pro-security," Gutierrez said at a press conference. "This bill accomplishes all three."

Under the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP), immigrants would have to satisfy certain requirements before legalizing their status, including learning English, passing a criminal background check, paying a fine and any back taxes, and proving they were legally present in present in the United States continuously since the day the bill was introduced. On the security front, it provides additional funding to beef up port and border security infrastructure, and to assist states fighting drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Women's Rights Treaty Turns 30; Time for the U.S. to Ratify

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ratify CEDAW Now

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations' adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – a comprehensive international treaty that outlines standards for ratifying countries to meet in the treatment and rights of women. 

CEDAW is a critical tool that countries can use to promote the adoption of national laws, policies, and practices to ensure that women and girls live free from violence, have access to quality education, and have the right to participate fully in the economic, political, and social sectors of their society. 

Ratifying countries must report to the U.N. every four years on their compliance with the treaty.  It has been ratified by 186 countries.  The United States is one of only seven countries that have not, along with Sudan, Iran, and Somalia.

The Leadership Conference is currently leading a campaign to urge the U.S. to ratify CEDAW. U.S. ratification of the treaty is critical to advancing women's rights and to restoring the credibility of the U.S. as a country committed to protecting human rights at home and abroad.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, Women's Rights

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House Extends Benefits for the Unemployed; New Coalition Calls for Stronger Action

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The House on Wednesday passed another six-month extension of unemployment benefits and extended the COBRA health care subsidy that was set to expire at the end of December.

The COBRA benefit — created under the stimulus bill earlier this year — pays for 65 percent of a laid-off worker's cost of continuing coverage under an employer's health insurance plan. For many families, it is the only way they can continue to pay for coverage. According to Families USA, the average cost for family coverage under an employer COBRA plan was $1,111. The bill now moves on to the Senate.

The unemployment and COBRA insurance extensions are critical lifelines for millions of Americans trying to survive the worst recession since the Great Depression. But they are only stop-gap measures.

A broad coalition of 60 organizations, including The Leadership Conference, is calling on Congress to pass legislation now that will put millions of Americans back on the job.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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House Passes Local Community Radio Act

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Local Community Radio Act passed the House of Representatives by voice vote last night and now moves to the Senate. 

Read more >>

Categories: Media & Technology

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Henderson: U.S. Must Honor Human Rights Obligations at Home

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, testified this morning before the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights about how a greater U.S. commitment to its international human rights obligations can strengthen civil rights at home.

The U.S. is a party to U.N. treaties and resolutions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Henderson said that if Congress played a more active role in pushing the U.S. to honor its human rights obligations, then more progress could be made on a number of critical domestic civil rights issues, including:

  • eliminating racial disparities in our criminal justice system, particularly the 100 to 1 crack and powder cocaine disparity;
  • providing full voting representation in Congress for residents of Washington, D.C.;
  • reforming of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights;
  • strengthening the right to form unions; and
  • fulfilling U.S. obligations to indigenous people.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights

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As 2010 Census Count Nears, Faith Leaders and Community Organizations Mobilize for December 22 ‘Day of Action’

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

As part of the "Make Yourself Count" Census 2010 campaign, The Leadership Conference Education Fund is working with partner organizations for a "day of action" on December 22 to mark 100 days until the 2010 census begins and to raise awareness in traditionally hard-to-count communities about the importance of participating in the census.

The "day of action" will focus on outreach through faith-based communities. In a webinar, representatives from Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc. (CPACS) and the Atlanta Urban League discussed how local organizations are incorporating faith-based messaging into their census outreach efforts and identified best practices for strategies that have been successful in educating and engaging traditionally hard-to-count populations on the importance of the census. The speakers also highlighted what groups can do to integrate census outreach into existing programs and activities during the week of December 22.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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The Democracy Restoration Act: Restoring the Right to Vote to Formerly Incarcerated Citizens

Monday, December 14, 2009

The American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Drug Policy Alliance, and The Sentencing Project are urging Congress to pass legislation that would restore the right to vote in federal elections to formerly incarcerated citizens.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System, Voting Rights

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Henderson Receives Alexander Award for Work Advancing Civil and Human Rights

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wade Henderson shaking hands with a man during a fundraiser

The Leadership Conference President and CEO Wade Henderson shaking hands with other guests at the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights' annual International Human Rights Day program on December 10, 2009.

The Leadership Conference's president and CEO, Wade Henderson, received the Cornelius R. "Neil" Alexander Humanitarian Award today from the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights and the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights for his commitment to advancing the civil and human rights of all Americans.

"The fact that this award commemorates Neil Alexander means a great deal to me. As the human rights commission's chief hearing officer for 20 years, Neil Alexander was a tireless and largely unsung champion of civil and human rights. Our city and the struggle for equal justice benefitted immensely from his legal expertise and his leadership in enforcing the District's human rights law," Henderson said in his acceptance speech.

Read more >>

Categories: Human Rights, The Leadership Conference, Voting Rights

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President Obama Sharpens Focus on Jobs, Relief for the Unemployed

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Calling the current jobs crisis affecting millions of Americans a "continuing human tragedy," President Obama this week outlined a series of steps intended to boost job growth and continue relief for the unemployed.

The plan includes expanding tax breaks and incentives to small businesses, increasing spending on infrastructure, and a new program of tax rebates for retrofitting homes for energy efficiency. The president also called for the extension of emergency benefits for the unemployed and support for local governments facing budget shortfalls and layoffs.

"We avoided the depression many feared," Obama said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. But, he stressed, "Our work is far from done." 

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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In California, Women Virtually Absent from Corporate Boardrooms

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Approximately nine out of 10 top management and board positions at public companies based in California are held by men, according to a recent study from the University of California (UC) at Davis.

Utilizing information that companies were required to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission through May 15, 2009 – researchers found that only 10.6 percent of board seats and executive positions in California's 400 largest firms are held by women. Almost one third of those companies (118) have no women on their boards and no women in their executive offices.

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Categories: Equal Opportunity

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House to Vote on Financial Reform Legislation

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

UPDATE:  The House passed the financial reform legislation on December 11.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on financial reform legislation that will address many of the practices and policies that contributed to the recent foreclosure crisis and the current recession.

A critical provision of the legislation will create a new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which will be responsible for the enforcement of most financial consumer protection laws designed to curb abuse, deception, and discrimination. The new agency will have oversight over mortgages and many other consumer financial services and products, such as credit cards, checking and savings accounts, credit reports/scores, payday loans, residential leases, and wire transfers.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Payton Calls on Congress to Restore Americans' Access to the Courts

Monday, December 7, 2009

John Payton, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that will limit Americans' access to courts.

Read more >>

Categories: Judiciary

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Tom Perez: Civil Rights Division Has New 'Agenda of Restoration and Revitalization'

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yesterday, the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held its first oversight hearing of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice since President Obama took office in January to look at how the new administration is planning to reform the division.

The hearing coincided with the release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that examines the division's civil rights enforcement record under the Bush administration.  The GAO report provides further evidence that the division under the Bush administration  was politicized, and as a result, enforcement suffered, particularly in the areas of voting rights, housing, and employment. 

The Civil Rights Division has widely been considered the premier civil rights enforcement agency, as it handled most federal anti-discrimination litigation.  However, in recent years, the division has been plagued by controversy over political interference in its hiring policies. The Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups that monitor the division have expressed concern about its inadequate enforcement of civil rights laws as well.

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Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Obama Administration Seeks to Strengthen Mortgage Relief for Homeowners

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Treasury Department unveiled a new plan yesterday seeking to make a $75 billion federal program to help struggling homeowners more effective.

To date, more than 650,000 mortgage holders have been granted temporary modifications on their mortgage loans under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). But as of September 1, only 1,711 mortgage modifications had been made permanent.

The latest plan will encourage lenders to make more of those modifications permanent.

"We are taking additional steps to enhance servicer transparency and accountability as part of a broader focus on maximizing conversion rates to permanent modifications," said Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Videos Urge Everyone to Be Counted in the 2010 Census

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) has produced a set of public service announcements (PSAs) to encourage full participation in the 2010 census.

The ads — featuring prominent members of the Asian-American and civil rights communities — emphasize that participating in the census is easy, confidential, and will help determine political representation and the allocation of funding for essential public services.

Ugly Betty's Alec Mapa, Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general, civil rights division, dept. of justice, California Rep. Mike Honda, and leaders from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, OCA, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance appear in the ads.

 

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Census Jobs Provide Opportunity for Reaching Hard-to-Count Populations

Monday, November 23, 2009

As part of the 2010 population count, the Census Bureau is planning to hire more than one million temporary workers nationwide. 

The initiative is intended to ensure that the hardest-to-count populations – including communities of color, children, persons with disabilities, and people who speak a language other than English – are fully counted. Available positions include census takers, crew leaders, supervisors, and administrative personnel.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF) has partnered with four national civil rights organizations, and will be working closely with local organizations in 13 key areas around the country, to encourage census participation among hard-to-count populations. LCCREF is urging residents to apply for positions with the Census Bureau to help count their communities. As temporary census employees, residents will have an opportunity to play an important role in making sure that their communities are fully counted in the 2010 census.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Latest Hate Crime Data Show Need for Stronger Prevention Efforts

Monday, November 23, 2009

FBI Report Finds Hate Crime at Highest Level since 2001

Following a slight drop in 2007, the number of reported hate crimes in United States rose in 2008, according to latest figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In its annual report, "Hate Crime Statistics 2008", the FBI documented 7,783 hate crimes in 2008, up from the 7,624 reported in 2007. The 2008 report shows the highest number of crimes directed at Blacks, Jews, and gay men and lesbians since 2001.

While the uptick in reported hate crimes is a disturbing trend, it may also reflect the fact that a higher number of law enforcement agencies are participating in the FBI's annual data collection effort. The FBI reported that 13,690 law enforcement agencies in the United States participated in the 2008 report – the largest number of police agencies in the 18-year history of the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990. 

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Random Family' by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx" is an honest, heartfelt, and deeply moving story that follows the lives of an extended family.  Adrian Nicole LeBlanc conducted extensive research and interviews with Lourdes, her daughter Jessica, daughter-in-law Coco, and all of their boyfriends and children over a 10-year period.

LeBlanc allows the family members to tell their stories as they see and live them, and in the process, pushes past statistics to put real, human faces on issues of poverty, teenage motherhood, abuse, and the drug world.

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Reforming Immigration Enforcement to Better Protect Children and Families

Friday, November 20, 2009

Each year, tens of thousands of people enter the United States seeking refuge from poverty, war, political or religious persecution, or human rights abuses. Among the most vulnerable of these immigrants are children who enter the country without a parent.  

In 2007, more than 8,000 unaccompanied children were held in U.S. custody, according to the Women's Refuge Commission.

The United States has long made it a priority of immigration policy to reunite families.  The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 ended earlier policies that prioritized immigrants from Europe and replaced them with a system that prioritized family immigration.

However, current immigration enforcement has had devastating effects on families.  Once detained, children are held in border patrol stations for weeks, often without blankets, showers or adequate nutrition. Furthermore, children are often forced to navigate through the immigration system alone, with about 50 percent appearing in court without an attorney.

Read more >>

Categories: Immigration

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Judge Rules in Favor of Homeowners Impacted by Hurricane Katrina

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled in favor of Hurricane Katrina victims who claimed much of the worst flood damage was a result of negligence by the Army Corps of Engineers, an important victory for many of those impacted by the storm. The case was the first to find the government responsible for damages from the storm. 

Lawyers representing the victims argued that the Army Corps not only failed to properly maintain the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a navigation canal that connects New Orleans' inner harbor with the Gulf of Mexico, but actually made matters worse with what actions it did take.  In particular, they argued that the Army Corps' actions were responsible for killing off marshes, eroding the banks, and doubling the channel width, all of which provided a way for the waters from Katrina to flood the city.

The court's ruling may have a significant impact on many people impacted by the storm.  Eighty thousand people lived in the area covered by the ruling, many of whom may be able to join a class action lawsuit based upon the verdict.  The Army Corps has estimated that such cases could lead to up to $500 billion in damages being awarded to people who lost their homes in the storm. 

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Rights Groups Urge Congress to Fix Broken Civil Rights Commission

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has become harmfully politicized and has strayed from its mission to protect the civil rights of Americans. That was the message that the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the ACLU, and a coalition other civil and human rights groups presented at a November 18 congressional briefing.

The groups called for reforms that would broaden the commission's mandate so that it can better investigate and address civil rights issues and work to strengthen U.S. commitments on human rights.  In particular, they are seeking a change in the way that members are appointed to the commission to ensure that commissioners remain independent. Currently, members are appointed by Congress and the president and are not required to undergo a confirmation process.

The commission was created with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 as an independent fact-finding body charged with investigating and reporting on civil rights and making recommendations to the federal government on how to fix the problems it uncovered.  Through its fact-finding work, it helped lay the foundation for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Over the past few years, however, the commission has taken positions hostile to civil rights issues, such as opposing the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006.

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Civil Rights Groups Seek Urgent Response to U.S. Jobs Crisis

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wade Henderson

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, speaking on the jobs crisis at the Economic Policy Institute. November 2009.

Civil rights and progressive organizations, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the AFL-CIO, and the Center for Community Change, have joined the Economic Policy Institute in calling attention to the urgent need to address the current jobs crisis in light of new unemployment data released for October 2009

The national jobs crisis has become a major barrier to progress in our country. Without job security, families will continue to lose their homes and will stop saving for their own retirement or their children's education.  Job security is also essential because the decisions and sacrifices made by the families hit the hardest today will have lasting repercussions for years to come.  For example, young adults who must work to support their families instead of attending school will find themselves disadvantaged when competing for work in the future.

Read more >>

Categories: Poverty & Welfare, Workers' Rights

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Senate to Vote on President Obama’s First Judicial Nominee David Hamilton

Monday, November 16, 2009

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the confirmation of President Obama's first nominee to the federal courts, Judge David Hamilton, who was nominated eight months ago for a seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Hamilton's nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 4, but his confirmation vote has been delayed unnecessarily since then.

Despite a distinguished record and bipartisan support, Judge Hamilton may face a Republican filibuster. Senators James Inhofe, R. Okla., and Jeff Sessions, R. Ala., have pledged to vote against taking up Hamilton's confirmation and have urged their colleagues to do the same. 

The delaying tactics used against Judge Hamilton's nomination are one example of the obstructionist tactics that have been used to block President Obama's judicial and executive nominees this year.  Civil rights groups argue that it is particularly troubling that these tactics are being applied to Judge Hamilton, who has proven to be an uncontroversial jurist earning high praise and a wide range of support throughout his career.  Judge Hamilton has served for 15 years as a federal district judge in his home state of Indiana where he has earned the support of both of his state's senators, Democrat Evan Bayh and Republican Richard Lugar. 

In a floor statement today in support of Judge Hamilton's nomination, Sen. Lugar said, "I believe our confirmation decisions should not be based on partisan considerations, much less on how we hope or predict a given judicial nominee will rule on particular issues of public moment or controversy. I have instead tried to evaluate judicial candidates on whether they have the requisite intellect, experience, character and temperament that Americans deserve from their judges, and also on whether they indeed appreciate the vital, and yet vitally limited, role of the federal judiciary faithfully to interpret and apply our laws, rather than seeking to impose their own policy views. I support Judge Hamilton's nomination because he is superbly qualified under both sets of criteria."

Categories: Judiciary

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'The Revolt of the Cockroach People' by Oscar Zeta Acosta

Friday, November 13, 2009

"The Revolt of the Cockroach People" is a fictionalized semi-autobiographical account of Oscar Zeta Acosta's involvement in the Chicano anti-war protest of the Vietnam War in 1970. 

The novel also covers a variety of conflicts between the protagonist, Buffalo Zeta Brown, an attorney with his own share of personal problems, and the religious, educational, and legal systems of East Los Angeles, CA at the time.  Brown represents rioters who were unjustly indicted and in the process draws significant attention to many Latino issues, but also sacrifices his own health in the process. 

Acosta's novel shows how one of the largest Chicano protest movements was fought both in the streets and in the courts.

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Foreclosures Hit Black and Latino Communities Hard

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A new William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) study finds that the foreclosure crisis has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities – and that the recession has made it worse.

Black and Latino homeowners were more likely to be the victims of predatory lending during the peak of the housing boom.  Fifty-five percent of Blacks and 46 percent of Latinos were issued subprime loans, even when most of them qualified for regular loans, according the WCVI's analysis of RealtyTrac data.

As a result, Blacks and Latinos were two-to-nine times more likely than White homeowners in high foreclosure regions like California, Nevada, and Florida to hold high-cost mortgage loans, putting them at greater risk of default and foreclosure.  Higher rates of unemployment among Blacks and Latinos in the wake of a devastating recession only further aggravate such risk.

Home foreclosure often turns into a perpetual cycle because the foreclosure of one home lowers the value of other nearby homes. In order to stop this cycle, the WCVI study includes several policy recommendations:

  • Expand eligibility requirements for the Making Home Affordable program to target borrowers who are at a high risk of foreclosure;
  • Reform bankruptcy laws to enable restructuring of mortgage terms;
  • Underwrite Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages to allow private sector refinancing at a 4.5 percent interest rate;
  • Expand the Federal Tax Credit for first-time homebuyers to have a greater impact in more expensive markets. 

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Assistant Attorney General Perez Testifies on the Need for ENDA

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Enacting legislation that would prevent employers from discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a top priority for the Obama administration, according to Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general, Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

"We cannot in good conscience stand by and watch unjustifiable discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals occur in the workplace without redress," Perez told members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions at a hearing last week on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). "We have come too far in our struggle for 'equal justice under the law' to remain silent or stoic."

As head of the Civil Rights Division, Perez oversees the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, religion, and national origin, including the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

Read more >>

Categories: LGBTQ Rights

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New Report Finds Greater Diversity in U.S. Union Membership

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The popular image of a typical union member in the United States has been of a middle-age White man working in a factory. While that may have been true a quarter century ago, it is far from accurate today, as a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) finds.

Almost half of unionized workers (45 percent) in 2008 were women, up from 35 percent in 1983, according to "The Changing Face of Labor 1983 - 2008." The report, which analyzes demographic trends in the union workforce over the last 25 years, predicts that, based on current trends, women will be the majority of union members before 2020. 

The report also found that:  

  • Latinos (12 percent) are the fastest growing ethnic group in the labor movement, up from just 5.8 percent in 1983.
  • Asians (4.6 percent) have nearly doubled as a percentage of the union workforce since 1989 (2.5 percent). 
  • The share of Black workers in the unionized workforce has held fairly steady at 13 percent since 1983, while there has been a large decline in the representation of White workers in the same period.

Read more >>

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Sentencing Juveniles to Life Without Parole

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two separate cases to determine whether sentencing juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole for non-homicide crimes violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Sullivan v. Florida is the case of Joe Sullivan, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole 20 years ago at the age of 13.  Graham v. Florida is the case of Terrance Jamar Graham, who violated parole at age 17 and was sentenced, without a trial, to life without parole.  Both cases took place in Florida, one of only six states that have imprisoned juveniles for life without parole for non-homicide offenses.

Many civil rights groups, academics, and social scientists have spoken out against these sentencing practices.  Charles Ogletree — who joined in a brief submitted by the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., in support of Graham and Sullivan — said that the Court should apply the same logic to these case it used to decide Roper v. Simmons, which struck down capital punishment for minors as unconstitutional. 

"The same transient qualities of adolescence that the Court relied upon in Roper make it similarly inappropriate to subject a teenager to a permanent punishment of life in prison without parole. It is cruel and inaccurate, as the Court has recognized, to pass a final and irreversible judgment on a person whose character is still forming and undergoing significant changes," Ogletree said.

Categories: Judiciary, Criminal Justice System

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President Obama Commits to Greater Cooperation Between Federal Government and Tribal Nations

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Obama held a historic White House Tribal Nations Conference on November 5 and made it clear that he is committed to ensuring that the needs and concerns of Tribal Nations are addressed by the federal government.

At the conference, the president signed a directive to every cabinet agency asking them to provide a detailed plan — within 90 days — on how to implement Executive Order 13175 — "Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments."

"In the final years of his administration, President Clinton issued an executive order [13175] establishing regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration between your nations and the federal government. But over the past nine years, only a few agencies have made an effort to implement that executive order — and it's time for that to change," said Obama upon signing the directive. 

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Categories: Indigenous Peoples

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Higher Achievement-Baltimore Launches First After School Program

Friday, November 6, 2009

This week, Higher Achievement-Baltimore held a commencement ceremony in honor of its very first class of After School Academy scholars. 

Higher Achievement is a non-profit organization that provides middle school youth with academic enrichment programs and high schoool prep.  It has been operating in the Washington, D.C., area for nearly 35 years and has helped thousands of school children improve their grades, test scores, school attendance, and confidence. The opening of programs in Baltimore is part of Higher Achievement's national expansion.

In this video Erin Hodge-Williams, executive director of Higher Achievement-Baltimore, and a few of the Baltimore scholars explain the importance of the program and how it works:

Visit the Higher Achievement-Baltimore website to learn more or to volunteer.

Categories: Education

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Let's Get Free' by Paul Butler

Friday, November 6, 2009

After years as a federal prosecutor, Paul Butler became convinced that American criminal justice system is fundamentally broken, ruining more lives than it protects. In his book, "Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice," Butler offers a lively and interesting analysis of crime and punishment in the United States and provides a powerful new vision of justice. 

He explores the limitations of working within a "corrupt" system and discusses a variety of provocative proposals for how ordinary citizens protest a system that is unjust.

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Unjust Census Amendment Dropped

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The U.S. Senate blocked a controversial amendment today that would have required the Census Bureau to belatedly add a citizenship question to the 2010 Census questionnaire.

In voting for cloture on the Commerce Justice and Science (CJS) FY10 Appropriations bill, a majority of senators effectively stopped the amendment from coming up for a vote. If approved, the amendment would have asked respondents to identify if they are a U.S. citizen and would have required the reprinting of Census questionnaires at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) welcomed the decision. "The civil rights community won an important battle today in the fight for a fair and accurate 2010 census that counts every person in the United States as required by the U.S. Constitution," said LCCR President and CEO Wade Henderson.

Read more >>

Categories: Census

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Today in Civil Rights History: Shirley Chisholm’s becomes First Black Woman Elected to Congress

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm

Today marks the anniversary of Shirley Chisholm's election to Congress in 1968. Chisholm, a Democrat who represented New York's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983, was the first Black woman elected to Congress. In 1972, Chisholm became the first Black woman from a major political party to run for president.

Before her political career, Chisholm earned a BA from Brooklyn College and an MA from Columbia University in elementary education and became known as an expert on early childhood education. She worked as a nursery school teacher, a director of a nursery and a child care center, and an educational consultant. She also volunteered with organizations like the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League and the League of Women Voters, which eventually led to her political career.

Chisholm first ran for the New York State Assembly, where she served from 1964 to 1968. When asked why she became involved in politics, she said, "The people wanted me." She then decided to run for Congress in 1968 with the slogan "unbought and unbossed," which accurately reflected her strong personality.  She won the congressional seat in an upset victory over Independent candidate James Farmer and Republican candidate Ralph Carrano.

Read more >>

Categories: Women's Rights, Civil Rights History

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Civil Rights Groups Urge Sen. Reid Hold Vote on Dawn Johnsen

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nearly 40 national civil rights organizations recently sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D. Nev., stating their concern over the obstructionist tactics used to stall Dawn Johnsen's nomination and urged him to bring the nomination to a vote quickly.

President Obama nominated Dawn Johnsen to head the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in February.  Her nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 19 and has been pending ever since.

The OLC is a critical agency that advises the executive branch on the constitutionality of proposed policies, legislation, and executive orders. Johnsen is well qualified for this position, having served in the OLC as a deputy assistant attorney general from 1993 to 1996 and as the acting assistant attorney general from 1997 to 1998. She is currently a professor of constitutional law at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University.

"Professor Johnsen has the experience, the integrity, and the intellect to head this critical office. She should be confirmed without further delay…We urge you to use the full force of your office to bring this nomination to a vote at the earliest possible date," the letter states.

Read the letter (PDF)

Categories: Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies

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Economy Track Shows How the Recession Hits Communities Differently

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The economic hardships caused by current recession reach far and wide, but some communities are experiencing the negative effects of the recession more acutely than national averages reveal, according to data available through a new online tool from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.

EPI's new Economy Track website allows you to see how the recession affects different industries and states, and also people of different races, gender, and education level. 

For instance, though the overall U.S. unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, it is 15.4 percent for African Americans and 12.7 percent for Hispanics. And while the 9.6 percent unemployment for workers in service industries is near the national average, the situation for blue-collar workers – 15.3 percent unemployment – is even more dire.

You can find a broad range of comparative statistics on Economy Track –and all of the data is downloadable and updated on a regular basis.

Categories: Poverty & Welfare

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Bernice King Elected to Head SCLC

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bernice King

Bernice King speaking at the groundbreaking of the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2006. Photo Credit: Mark Blacknell.

Bernice King

Bernice King speaking at the groundbreaking of the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2006. Photo Credit: Mark Blacknell.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) announced today that it elected Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., to be the organization's next president.  She is the first woman and the second King child to head the organization, which was co-founded by Dr. King in 1957.

King, the youngest child of Martin Luther King, Jr., is a longtime activist, minister, and lawyer who has spoken around the world. She is an elder at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia.

She inherits an organization that has expanded considerably since her father's time.  There are about 10,000 members and 80 chapters residing in 17 states.  In addition to a conflict resolution site already opened in Israel, the SCLC has plans in place to open other international sites over the next 10 years.

The SCLC was founded to coordinate and support nonviolent protests of segregation and played a key role in many of the most famous demonstration of the civil rights movement.  Dr. King served as its first president until his death in 1968.

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Gang Leader for a Day' by Sudhir Venkatesh

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Gang Leader for a Day" is a fascinating story of how young sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh spent seven years documenting gang life and culture in Chicago after meeting and befriending a gang leader named JT.

Venkatesh's story of his complicated relationship with JT and his unique access to the inner workings of the gang provides the reader with an unvarnished, often surprising, portrait that destroys many popular assumptions about gangs and gang members.

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Hate Crimes Prevention Act Is Now Law

Thursday, October 29, 2009

President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law yesterday, October 28.

The following slide show features photographs of President Obama and the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., at the White House signing ceremony and a reception at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C., for activists who worked more than a decade to pass this landmark legislation.


Photo Credits: Jenna Wandres of LCCR and Sammie Moshenberg of National Council of Jewish Women

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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Sen. Edward Brooke Receives Congressional Gold Medal

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sen. Edward Brooke and President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office

Sen. Edward Brooke and President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office in 1967.

Sen. Edward Brooke and President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office

Sen. Edward Brooke and President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office in 1967.

Former Sen. Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts received the Congressional Gold Medal yesterday for his lifelong and historic service to the nation.

Brooke, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and served in the U.S. military, was the nation's first African-American senator elected by popular vote and the last Republican African-American senator. He was elected in 1966 and served for two terms until 1979. 

Brooke was a champion of civil rights, fighting for strong enforcement in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which he co-authored with former Sen. Walter Mondale of Minnesota, and voting rights for the District of Columbia. For his commitment to civil rights, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights honored Brooke in 1978 with the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award, the civil rights community's highest honor.

The Congressional Gold Medal is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.  It was first awarded in 1776 to then-General George Washington and John Paul Jones.  It has since been awarded to a wide array of notable figures, including Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, and Jackie Robinson. 

Categories: Civil Rights History

Categories: Civil Rights History

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Henderson Condemns Vitter Amendment, Calls for Inclusive Census Count

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wade speaking on Census

LCCR President and CEO Wade Henderson speaking at a press conference on census-related issues in New Orleans on August 23.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, is calling on the Senate to reject a proposed amendment that would require the Census Bureau to add a question on citizenship and immigration status to the 2010 census form less than six months before the census takes place on April 1.

In a guest blog on The Huffington Post yesterday, Henderson said the divisive amendment, sponsored by Sens. David Vitter, R. La., and Robert Bennett, R. Utah, would disrupt the census after years of careful planning, delaying the apportionment of Congressional and state legislative districts the allocation of federal funds, and the availability of data essential to corporate decision-making.

"At a time when the political process is mired in partisanship, public trust in government is at an all-time low, and the economy is stuck in a recession, the last thing the nation needs is a delayed and dysfunctional census," Henderson said.

Read more >>

Categories: Census, The Leadership Conference

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HUD Combats LGBT Housing Discrimination

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently proposed new regulations to ensure that its housing programs are open to all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The regulations clarify that the term "family" as HUD uses it includes LGBT individuals and couples and requires HUD grantees and participants in HUD programs to comply with local and state non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity. The regulations specify that any mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration must be based only on credit-worthiness and not on unrelated identity factors.

The department also plans to authorize the first national study of discrimination of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.  Although there have been no national studies of housing discrimination against LGBT people, state and local studies show significant evidence of discrimination.

"The evidence is clear that some are denied the opportunity to make housing choices in our nation based on who they are and that must end. President Obama and I are determined that a qualified individual and family will not be denied housing choice based on sexual orientation or gender identity," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said.

Categories: LGBTQ Rights, Housing & Lending

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‘Labor Day’ Shows SEIU’s Impact on 2008 Election

Monday, October 26, 2009

The new documentary film "Labor Day" explores the role that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) played in the election of Barack Obama last year.

The film begins in early 2007 and follows the SEIU and its members' work through November 2008 to elect a Democrat to the White House. Director Glenn Silber, a two-time Oscar nominee, uses campaign footage, footage of SEIU members canvassing around the country, and interviews with politicians, musicians, and journalists to show how SEIU inspired thousands of activists to help turn "Election Day into Labor Day."

"Labor Day" will premiere on Wednesday, October 28, at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, Wisc. It will be screened in New York and Chicago on Friday, October 30. For more information, visit the film's website.

Categories: Workers' Rights

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Proposed Bipartisan Commission Would Examine the U.S. Criminal Justice System

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a bill introduced by Sen. Jim Webb, D. Va., that would establish a bipartisan commission to examine the nation's criminal justice system and figure out how to make it more effective and fair.

The commission would be tasked with identifying the system's strengths and weaknesses and making recommendations to Congress about reducing the incarceration rate, lowering crime rates, restructuring our approach to drug policy, improving the treatment of mental illnesses, and other reforms.

Read more >>

Categories: Criminal Justice System

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Civil Rights Book Club: 'Suburban Sweatshops' by Jennifer Gordon

Friday, October 23, 2009

It is difficult to imagine that there are people in the United States still being grossly underpaid at 30 cents an hour, or, worse yet, not even being paid for their labor at all.  But some immigrant laborers endure such circumstances.

In "Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights," author Jennifer Gordon examines the contemporary challenges facing the growing workers' rights and immigrant rights movements.  Through her own experience in founding the Workplace Project, Gordon offers an insightful discussion of the legal and organizing strategies and the lessons learned in trying to create a space where workers can unite to improve their conditions and fight for minimum wage, health care benefits, and better safety standards.

The Civil Rights Book Club aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns. Each week, we profile a book, a movie, or other media that represent the diversity of the contemporary social justice movement. You can help support The Leadership Conference by purchasing Book Club selections through the Amazon.com link on our website.

Categories: The Leadership Conference

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Wade Henderson among NELP Honorees for Workers’ Rights Advocacy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wade Henderson

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, speaking at the NELP 40th Anniversary Gala.

Last night, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) celebrated 40 years of working to protect the employment rights of low-wage workers.  NELP presented a moving tribute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy for his leadership in fighting for workplace equality and honored several workers' rights allies, including Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

"Workers' rights have always been civil and human rights," Henderson said. "Sixty years ago, A. Philip Randolph, a labor leader and one of the founders of the Leadership Conference said, 'the two tickets to a better life are a voter registration card and a union card.'  That lesson still holds true today."

NELP also honored the work of Jon Hiatt, AFL-CIO general counsel; Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network; and the National Employment Lawyers Association and its executive director, Terisa Chaw.

Christine Owens, executive director of NELP, celebrated the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act earlier this year and emphasized the importance of passing the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would restore workers' right to organize.

"As long as there are workers who need a voice and a place at the table, NELP will be there to fight for them," Owens said.

Categories: Workers' Rights, The Leadership Conference

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Senate Sends Landmark Hate Crimes Bill to President Obama

Thursday, October 22, 2009

UPDATE: On October 28, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.

Today, the Senate gave final congressional approval 68-29 to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expands the definition of federal hate crimes and removes unnecessary obstacles to federal prosecution.

With President Obama likely to sign the Act into law soon, civil rights groups are celebrating a historic achievement following more than a decade of advocacy.

"We applaud lawmakers for recognizing the fundamental right of all Americans to be protected from violence because of their race, the way they worship, their sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. Congress' decision to pass this bill sends a clear message to these victims of violence and their families – individuals like Stephen Tyrone Johns of Washington, D.C., Sean Kennedy of South Carolina, Angie Zapata of Colorado, Luis Ramirez of Pennsylvania, and Matthew Shepard of Wyoming – that we value every American's basic civil and human right to be safe and free from physical harm," Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said.

Read more >>

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

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'Shriver Report' Highlights the Changing Role of Women at Work, at Home, and Beyond

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A new report by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress is calling attention to changing gender dynamics of the American family and workplace and this shift's potential to affect public policy and policies that businesses adopt. 

"The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything" found that half of all American workers are women, that mothers are the primary breadwinner or co-breadwinner in two-thirds of American families, and that women are now more likely than men to graduate from college. 

However, the report also explains that in spite of these changes, women are still earning only 77 cents for each dollar men earn and are still difficult to find in leading positions of America's most successful companies.  In addition, the rise of women in the workplace has sparked serious debate about how children are affected growing up without a stay-at-home parent. 

Based upon these findings, the report argues that all American institutions must adapt to the new dynamic of the workforce and family by embracing policies that help working American families and businesses, like flexible work hours, paid medical leave, child care, and elderly care.

Categories: Workers' Rights, Women's Rights

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Vitter-Bennett Amendment Will Ruin the 2010 Census

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wade Henderson with civil rights leaders

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, with civil rights leaders speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Civil rights groups are urging the Senate to reject an amendment to the Commerce Justice and Science Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bill that would ruin the Census Bureau's ability to conduct an accurate census next year.

The amendment by Sens. David Vitter, R. La., and Robert Bennett, R. Utah, would require the Census Bureau to add a citizenship and immigration status question to 2010 census forms.  The question would inflame concerns within both native-born and immigrant communities about the confidentiality and privacy of information provided to the government and deter many people from filling out their census form.

In addition, with the 2010 census scheduled to take place in less than six months on April 1, the bureau has already finalized and printed most of the materials.  The amendment would require the bureau to redo the materials, wasting more than $7 billion and 10 years of research, planning, and preparation.

"[The Vitter amendment] contradicts what America stands for – the idea that all people are created equal. The 14th Amendment clearly requires a count of every resident for apportionment of U.S. House seats, yet the Vitter amendment echoes a shameful period when the census counted most African Americans as three-fifths of a person. The ideals that our country was founded on, and the sacrifice and struggle of generations of Americans to realize them, deserve better than this," Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said.

The Senate could vote on the amendment later this week.

Categories: Census

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Franken Amendment Would Forbid Unfair Forced Arbitration by Government Contractors

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Civil rights groups are supporting an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act for 2010 by Sen. Al Franken, D. Minn., which would deny taxpayer funding to defense contractors who force arbitration upon their employees in cases of sexual abuse and harassment and other egregious forms of unlawful job discrimination.

Forced arbitration clauses require a consumer or employee to agree to settle any disputes in arbitration before a private third party hired to review and settle disputes. They also forbid an individual from suing, participating in class action lawsuits, or appealing the arbiter's decision.  These clauses often surprise consumers and employees who are unaware of forced arbitration policies in the fine print of many types of contracts.

Franken's amendment comes as a response to the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was viciously assaulted and raped by co-workers while working for Halliburton/Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) in Iraq.  Under the forced arbitration clause of her employment agreement, Jones (whose case is still in court) may be prevented from suing Halliburton and instead forced to go through secret, binding arbitration. 

In a letter to Sen. Daniel Inouye, D. Hawaii, and Rep. John Murtha, D. Pa., signed by 24 civil rights groups, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights said that the amendment must be passed in its current form to cover all Title VII employment discrimination claims.

"Unless Title VII claims are included, other forms of discrimination – not connected to sexual violence but nevertheless egregious and intolerable – would continue to be swept under the rug of forced arbitration," the letter states.

Categories: Workers' Rights

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Campaign Asks People to Take a 'Media Violence Fast'

Monday, October 19, 2009

This week is the "2009 Media Violence Fast", an annual week-long campaign that encourages people to take a stand against violent media by making a conscious decision to not watch or listen to it.  The campaign is sponsored by the So We Might See Coalition, a diverse group of faith organizations that includes the United Church of Christ, U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Islamic Society of North America, and others.

This year's focus is on the increasing amount of anti-immigrant hate speech in media, particularly in television news and talk radio.  You can go to the campaign's website to sign a petition asking the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Commerce to conduct an inquiry into hate speech and update a government report that collects statistics and information about the connection between hate speech and hate crimes.

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA, Media & Technology

Categories: Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA, Media & Technology

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Civil Rights Groups: New Financial Regulatory Agency Must Be Able to Protect Minority Consumers

Friday, October 16, 2009

Civil rights leaders recently testified in the House Committee on Financial Services about the role that the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency will play in protecting minority and low-income Americans.

The new agency would be tasked with prohibiting abusive, deceptive, and discriminatory lending practices.  Advocates hope that the agency will ensure that the consumer financial services market operates fairly and that traditionally underserved communities have access to mainstream financial services.

Hilary Shelton, Washington Bureau director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in his testimony that the new agency could make it easier for the federal government to adequately monitor abusive practices.  "Current laws and enforcement allow a range of institutions to escape supervision because responsibility for consumer protection is fragmented across too many regulators. Too many finance companies are not regulated at all at the federal level," Shelton said.

Janis Bowdler, deputy director of the National Council of La Raza's wealth-building policy project, recommended that the new agency also be tasked with the responsibility of identifying trends that negatively impact minority communities and taking the necessary steps to prevent such behavior, as well as promoting financial counseling by trained professionals to families that are in need.

In order to eliminate opportunities for abuse, Michael Calhoun, president and CEO of the Center for Responsible Lending, recommended that the new agency have rulemaking authority over all consumer financial services providers and their products.  Calhoun also said that the new agency must be independent and have a strong, clear mandate to enforce its authority.

The House Finance Committee is currently considering legislation that will create the new agency.

Read more >>

Categories: Housing & Lending

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Major Cities Lack Funds for the 2010 Census; Local Groups Try to Pick up Slack

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Philadelphia Research Initiative investigating the 2010 census preparations of 11 major U.S. cities and found that six of these cities – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh - have less money and fewer staffers for census outreach than they did in 2000.

The 66 percent national mail response rate for the 2000 census reversed a three-decade decline in public cooperation, an achievement believed  to be due in large part to community-focused outreach and education activities in which state and local governments played a significant role. But the recession has hit many communities hard and state and local budgets are tight.

An inaccurate count can skew the allocation of vital program funds and political representation for the next decade.  The stakes are particularly high in many of the cities that Pew studied because they have high numbers of hard-to-count populations, including low-income renters, immigrants and minorities. 

Recognizing the importance of an accurate 2010 census and the limited funds of many cities, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, the Asian American Justice Center, the NAACP, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and the Nationa